Northside students enjoying summer travels


From Canada to Italy and North Carolina to Israel, students on the Northside have a busy travel itinerary this summer, thanks to local schools and churches.

Northside teens this summer have participated in educational trips organized by their schools, while others have gone on trips with their churches or the Mississippi Lions All-State Band.

The trips have given students an opportunity to not only travel abroad, but in some cases, to help them better understand or put into practice what they learned in the classroom.

This week, about 15 students at Jackson Academy (JA) headed to the Holy Land, for an eight-day trip in Israel.

The group’s visit will include trips to the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, the Western Wall and other sites important to Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

“Educationally, it offers so much. We’ll be in Israel, the nation of birth of three faiths,” said John Hugh Tate, a JA teacher who helped organize the trip. “To visit the place … of Christ, David and Moses and where the church began is something that is very inspiring to me.”

Students left from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, where they flew to Newark and took a connecting flight to Tel Aviv. Tate said the flight to Israel would take about 12 hours. The trip back will be about 14 hours.

In July, students from Jackson Preparatory School will travel to Poland as part of the school’s 11th trip organized by the Global Leadership Institute.

A dozen students will be taking the trip, which will include touring several historical sites in Krakow, including Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory and the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, located about an hour and a half drive from the Polish city of around 763,000.

“The theme for our trip is communications,” said Col. William Merrell, who heads up the institute. “We’ll study how (the Nazis used communication) to demonize a portion of the population, why they did it, how they did it and the ramifications.

“We’re traveling to all those places where everything happened to get first-hand accounts.” 

The trip was organized based on students’ area of interest. “This year, we had a Holocaust survivor, Dr. Inge Auerbacher, who came and talked … She made the Holocaust come alive and just sparked interest.”

Trip itinerary includes spending four days in Krakow. From there, Prep students will travel to Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, and from there will go to Nuremberg, Germany. Students also will travel to Davos, Switzerland, where they will participate in a two-day conference on leadership, Merrell said.

That conference, the Davos Global Leadership Summit, will be attended by about 1,500 students from across the globe. “The conference typically has great speakers,” Merrell said. “One year was Jane Goodall. One (year it) was Anthony Bourdain.”

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School students also have been busy this summer. A group of seventh and eighth graders spent several days in Quebec and Montreal, while a group of high schoolers spent time in Germany.

Przemek Tokarski, director of St. Andrew’s Global Studies Program, said the trip to Canada exposes students to a different language and culture, and gives them an opportunity to travel without the supervision of their parents.

“The first step is to make them feel comfortable and expose them to something else,” Tokarski said.

Twenty students went on the trip, which was open to middle school French students. “We (exposed) them to the French language, Canadian French, the food and the culture they (were) studying,” he said.

According to, French is the official language of Quebec, which is spoken by about 78 percent of the province’s 8.4 million people.

The Germany trip, on the other hand, was open to student high school students who hosted exchange students the previous academic year.

While on the trip, students stayed with host families and sat in on classes at Norbert High School, St. Andrew’s partner school, close to Cologne. The travelers also enjoyed much better weather than their counterparts who remained stateside.

Cologne is located on the Rhine River in western Germany. The city boasts a population of more than a million people. The average June high for the city is a cool 71 degrees, while the average low is 53.

Students also participated in a community service project there to help migrant children from the Middle East. “Germany (has had) a big influx of immigrants in the last two years. There are a lot of kids who have been displaced or separated from their families,” Tokarski said. “We let (our students) meet them, and if they speak English, converse with them.

“We have some projects, like art projects, that we can do with the kids,” he said.

Other teens participated in or will participate in trips organized by their churches.

St. Richard Catholic Church, for example, recently took about 25 chaperones and youth on a trip to Rome.

The trip included tours of “various religious and cultural sights,” including St. Peter’s Basilica and the ruins of Pompeii, said Fr. Nick Adam.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for young Catholics. We have a limited Catholic population in the state.”

Several Northside students are also traveling to Europe, thanks to their musical abilities. This year, students who made the Mississippi All-State Lions Band will be traveling to Italy to take part in international competition. The trip is July 3 through 11.

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