Published on November 08, 2021 at 1:45 p.m.
There’s probably no worse time to take over a high school international travelers club than at the start of a pandemic.
That, however, is exactly where Palmerton Area High School teacher Craig Borland found himself in late 2019 when he was appointed to follow in the footsteps of longtime Palmerton Spanish teacher Jose Elvir.
At the time, the club was planning a trip to Europe which was eventually canceled due to COVID-19. In the year since, the club have remained silent, but on Wednesday evening Borland told the school board he was hoping for a 2023 summer trip to Greece.
“COVID obviously isn’t going to go away and that’s something we’re obviously going to deal with, but we really didn’t want to just bend the club,” Borland said. “I always want these students to have the opportunity to travel abroad. I hope the district will support this.
The board’s consensus on Wednesday evening was to give Borland the go-ahead to continue working on the trip and to proceed with a formal vote of approval at a later date.
Superintendent Dr Jodi Frankelli said there will be significant groundwork in light of COVID-19 to ensure all bases are covered.
“We can’t ignore the fact that we have to plan under the conditions of COVID-19,” Frankelli said. “We don’t want the excitement of the trip to cover up some of the realities we have to deal with. For example, we will have to be prepared for almost anything. If a student tests positive while in Greece and everyone has to come the next day, what happens? These are things that we need to review and have resolved.
Borland said students can start fundraising when and if the board gives the go-ahead for a trip. The trip would be organized by a company specializing in educational travel, he added.
“We chose Greece because I think it could really generate excitement,” he said. “Part of the trip is a four-day cruise to different islands. There are many things we can do in terms of the educational component. »
The International Travelers Club of Palmerton has been a popular choice for students in the past. Seventeen students were due to make the trip to Europe before COVID-19 hit.
Borland said three students told him about a possible trip to Greece.
“We need a minimum of six, which I don’t think we’d have a problem getting,” he said. “We haven’t really made a big sales pitch for it yet. It generates excitement. There were 17 of us for the planned trip to Europe and none of them complained about anything that happened. There was money lost on that and I think they figured it out.