By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
For more than 15 years Cooperstown High School history teacher Jennifer Pindar has loved leading student groups on educational trips abroad, a tradition she will continue after the coronavirus pandemic canceled last year’s trip.
In 2022, Pindar will lead a student trip to London, Belgium and Amsterdam. The destinations were agreed on in consultation with educational travel company World Strides. Along with Pindar, students will be accompanied by tour guides from World Strides and parents and teachers who agree to chaperone. The school is not involved in this trip.
The itinerary includes Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and other attractions. Students will also take excursions around Brussels and Bruges in Belgium. In Amsterdam, highlights will include visits to the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum.
Pindar first partnered with World Strides in 2005, leading a student trip to the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. The first overseas trip with World Strides was in 2008. Pindar has traveled with students to France, China, Italy, Germany and Austria, among others.
“Travel is eye-opening to students and helps them see the big picture” Pindar said. “It really brings history to life.”
One student told her teacher that after taking Pindar’s AP European History class, the trip to Austria and Germany helped her feel connected to what she had learned. She said walking through the site of the Dachau concentration camp in Munich was emotional and chilling, but important.
Erik Mebust attended Pindar’s trip to China and said it allowed him to see how China’s history impacted its current lifestyle. While in college, Mebust spent time abroad in Hong Kong and London, something he said would not have happened if not for his school experience.
After college, Mebust received a Fulbright Scholarship Award, which gave him the opportunity to travel to Vietnam and teach English. “One of the best things an educator can do is give some-one a passion and appreciation for a topic,” Mebust said. “The trip with Ms. Pindar definitely did that for me.”
Mike Perrino chaperoned two of Pindar’s trips, and his son and two daughters each went on at least one. “On these trips, every stop along the way is an impressionable moment,” Perrino said.
Cooperstown English teacher Rebecca Sciallo has chaperoned on two of Pindar’s trips. She said having an understanding and empathy for different cultures, experiences and traditions is important. This type of learning provides a more thorough understanding than is possible in the classroom.
Perrino and Sciallo each said, to this day, whenever they see a student that they chaperoned, the conversation quickly turns to the unique and emotional experiences shared together.
The 2022 trip will be for CCS students in grades 8 to 12.
There are 18 students already registered, with the optimal number being 30 to 40 students, Pindar said.
The trip is paid for by individual families but Pindar said money is not a barrier.
“If a student wants to go and there is a spot we will find a way,” Pindar said.
There are scholarships, financial aid options, and four different payment plans, she said.
For more details about the trip, contact Pindar at email@example.com or on the Facebook page Pindar’s Travels.