Six students from Florence High School, accompanied by Ms. Sanford (French teacher, FHS) and Mr. Daneman (Social Studies teacher, PBHS) traveled to France from March 14-22, 206. In Normandy, students visited a number of sites related to the World War II D-Day invasions including the beaches (Omaha, Gold, and Juno) where American, British, and Canadian soldiers landed to liberate France on June 6, 1944, the D-Day Memorial Museum in Caen, the American cemetery in Colleville where thousands of American soldiers killed during WWII are buried, and Pointe du Hoc, a battlefield full of German bunkers, craters formed from bombs, and views of the steep cliffs scaled by American soldiers on D-Day. In the northwest region of Brittany, the students visited the city of St-Malo, which was completely destroyed during WWII and has since been rebuilt. Other historical attractions they saw include the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen in 1431, the Bayeux Tapestry which tells the story of the conquest of England by the Normans in the 1066’s Battle of Hastings, and Mont St-Michel, an island abbey just off the coast of Normandy. Beyond learning about the rich history of Paris, Normandy, and Brittany, the students tried new foods and practiced speaking French with the locals everywhere they went, a first for each of them and a drastically more authentic experience than speaking French in the classroom.
When asked what the most important lesson learned from the trip was, junior Ingree Villalba stated, “There is a bigger world out there. It has changed my perspective of the world.” For many, the trip was inspiration to continue traveling and exploring the world. Sophomore Grace Villwok said, “I realized that America is way different from other countries. We should get out and see and experience lifestyles that are different from our own, even if they are uncomfortable. I want to see how different everything is in other countries.”
Caleb Jones and Cameron Green outside the Louvre Museum in Paris
Grace Villwok and Camryn Farinsky enjoying fresh crêpes on the streets of Paris
Visiting the D-Day beaches in Normandy (Cameron Green, Caitlyn Green, Caleb Jones, Camryn Farinsky)