This year BSM students had many opportunities to travel to different countries throughout Europe for spring break, giving them both cultural and educational experiences. The trips included a voyage to France through the World Language Department, an ACS trip to Germany, and a southern european experience to Italy through the Latin department’s Mr. Epler .
Twelve seniors enrolled in ACS, among the most talented engineers at BSM, travelled to Germany this spring break. BSM was the only high school competing against other college-level engineers at German RoboCup. ACS students competed with a robot they designed at BSM specifically for the competition. “RoboCup is a research event. The spin is to call it a competition, and there are awards, but at the heart of it is teams collaborating and sharing research to expand the functionality of robotic systems, and particularly in our case the functionality of robots for search and rescue,” engineering teacher Mr. Timothy Jump said.
The initial plan for RoboCup was to have participants travel to Brazil for the event this coming summer, but with the high tension and the current instability in Brazil the trip was cancelled and rescheduled to Germany over spring break. “Brazil has a high risk for crime against visitors, and with the current dislike of the USA in Brazil (the bugging issues of the US Govt.) and the issues Brazil is having with preparations for the Olympics and the soccer World Cup this just seemed too many negatives to justify the trip,” Jump said.
The ACS program did not allow the conflicts in Brazil affect their plans to compete with their robot. “It seemed better to miss some school than to not have any event this year as these seniors have worked hard for three years and should not be denied their opportunity,” Jump said.
The France trip kicked off with a rewarding experience of staying with a host family for five days along the Loire River. The next three days was spent in Paris, basically squeezing in all of the tourist activities possible during this time. “The only students who attended are French students who have at least two years of the language experience. We wanted the students to be immersed in the culture and language of France through the host families. The goal of the trip was to push them out of their comfort zone with a potential to have a relationship with their host family in the future,” French teacher Madame Amy Hyde said.
The Italy trip lasted from March 23 to April 1 with the itinerary including visiting cities such as Venice, Florence, San Gimignano, Naples/ Pompeii, Capri/ Sorrento, and Rome/ Vatican City. In each city students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Italian culture, by traveling the different cities, dining at authentic Italian restaurants, and exploring the unique architecture and nature Italy has to offer.
Throughout BSM several sophomores, juniors and seniors were anxiously looking forward to visiting Italy, and were pleasantly satisfied by the trip. “I learned a lot about the history of Italy. There are churches and buildings that are over 3,000 years old. I have never been immersed in a country as old as this before” junior Colleen Alexander said.