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Board Meetings

June 16, 2009

International Field Trips: Learning Opportunities for Students

The Egypt 2009 educational field trip was a cooperative effort between John Diefenbaker Secondary School and Walkerton District Secondary School.  Teachers Alex Cooper (WDSS) and Jan Wilson (JDSS) and students James Wilton (WDSS) and Vicky Marshall (JDSS) are with us today to share their amazing experiences. Alex Cooper and Jan Wilson have previously voiced their appreciation for the support from Bluewater District School Board trustees, senior administration and their school administrations.  They have also stated that, “what this group of travellers witnessed could not be taught in a classroom, from a text book or over the internet.”

Over March Break 2009, eight adult chaperones accompanied forty one students for fifteen days away from home to a land of ancient civilization and cultural diversity.

Initial planning started two years prior to departure and involved a parent meeting eighteen months prior to departure (October 2007).  Participants were active in many fundraising activities including: popcorn sales, pizza card sales, a fundraising dinner, sponsoring a women’s volleyball tournament and more.  Over $10,000 was raised by students.  All participants (including adult chaperones) purchased trip insurance and arranged for immunizations and passports.  The cost to participate was $3800 per person.

Participants arrived in Egypt on March 7, 2009 and over the next 14 days the group saw, touched, tasted, smelled and heard so many things it would take months to recount them.  The itinerary included arriving in Cairo and visiting the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, the Egyptian Museum (King Tut), a carpet school and perfumery, as well as Memphis and the step pyramid at Sakkara.  Their overnight train voyage to Aswan followed the Nile River to the southern portion of the “land of sand”.  At Aswan they visited the Aswan High Dam, a Nubian village, the temple at the island of Philae and Abu Simbel.  Their next three nights were aboard a Nile cruise ship which docked at temples along the Nile as they sailed northward to Luxor.  While in Luxor they visited the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatshepsuits temple, the Colossi of Memnon and an alabaster atelier.  The highlight of the trip for many was the 90 minute hot air balloon ride at dawn over the Valley of the Kings and Luxor.

From Luxor they travelled by coach to the resort town of Hurghada on the Red Sea.  While in Hurghada the group spent a day at a Bedouin village and a day on two private charter yachts on the Red Sea.  On their final day in Cairo they had lunch at the Cairo Hard Rock Café and went to “CairoLand”, the Egyptian equivalent of Wonderland, before one last dinner cruise down the Nile which included entertainment from a whirling dervish and belly dancer.  

On March 20, the group returned home safe and sound with a deeper appreciation of a culture so different from their own and according to the participants, “a realization of how truly fortunate they are to live and learn in their Bluewater communities.”  

Submitted to:
Bluewater District School Board
16 June 2009
For more information please contact
Alana Murray, Superintendent of Secondary Education


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