Huntington Grads Complete
12 Day Trip
A small group of new Huntington High School graduates recently returned from an activities packed 12-day tour of New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii. The teenagers traveled with Education First Tours.
The Huntington contingent was joined along the way by students from Edison High School in New Jersey and T.C. Williams High School in Virginia. Huntington High School social studies teacher Camille Tedeschi served as group leader/lead chaperone. (The excursion was a completely private endeavor booked through EF Tours and not approved or subsidized in any way by the Huntington School District.)
New Huntington alums Katherine Shirley, Jillian Kocis, John McCarthy and Michael Lambui went on the excursion and returned raving about the experience. The teenagers soaked up the sights and sounds and welcomed all the cultural differences they encountered.
"This was my first small tour with EF and graduates from Huntington," Ms. Tedeschi said. "It was a different experience from being in charge of a large group, but it was amazing. I will definitely look to organize more in the future. The students were respectful, friendly, adventurous and motivated to absorb all that was possible while on tour."
Kangaroos and Kuala Bears
Just a few days after their final day of high school, the Huntington teenagers were in Rotorua, New Zealand, hiking, 'zorbing,' visiting the mud baths and going on a duck tour in Auckland. In Australia they climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, went to the Sydney Opera House, took in an Australian football game and came across kangaroos and koala bears in a wildlife park. In Hawaii, the group explored Honolulu, visited Pearl Harbor, went on a local history tour and spent time at Waikiki Beach.
"As soon as I heard that Ms. Tedeschi was planning a trip to Australia, I knew right away that I had to be on it," Mr. Lambui said. "I didn't care how much it cost or how long the flight was, I just knew that it would be a trip of a lifetime. I was just so happy when I heard that Jillian Kocis, Katherine Shirley and John McCarthy all signed up. I couldn't ask for a better group to be stuck with on a plane of 50 hours of flying time."
The travelers excitedly recalled their respective highlights of the journey. "My favorite parts of the trip were the mud/sulfur bath in Rotorua, the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb and the luau in Hawaii," Ms. Kocis said. "I appreciated each place for what it had to offer; New Zealand being so naturally beautiful and scenic while Sydney was more urban and architectural. Hawaii's relaxed atmosphere was the icing on the cake and the perfect end to our trip."
"The highlight of the trip for me was Hawaii," Mr. Lambui said. "I had a blast. The highlight of our time in New Zealand for me was probably when we went 'zorbing,' which is when you're rolled down a hill in a giant plastic ball. My biggest highlight in Australia was when we climbed to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge because the view from the top is breathtaking. I will never forget the good times we had on this trip and I will have these memories forever."
"My favorite part of the trip was climbing the Sydney Bridge and swimming in Honolulu," Ms. Shirley said. "I never knew how much I liked to travel until I went to Peru with Ms. Tedeschi. Since I met her, I feel the need to become cultured and experience new things. She is the best!"
Most Seasoned Traveler
The most seasoned traveler of all in the group was in awe of the sights, too. "My favorite adventure in Sydney was the bridge climb," Ms. Tedeschi said. "It is an unforgettable experience and you just have to absorb what you see and take a picture in your mind of the sights from above. We climbed as a group and it is definitely a memory I will never forget."
Each person on the trip had their own personal reasons for participating in the trek. "I personally like to travel because I think it gives you a certain perspective, which I find fascinating," Ms. Kocis said. "It tends to open your eyes to different ideas and experiences. After my third trip with E.F. (Italy and Peru), I can't help but be grateful! I had amazing experiences each time and given the opportunity to go on one again, I would in a heartbeat!"
Ms. Tedeschi has traveled extensively throughout the world, but she never grows tired of the experience. "Each time I travel I learn new things and always seem to come home a different and better version of myself," she said. "I learn from my surroundings while on tour, but also learn from my students. Seeing the excitement and enthusiasm of a young traveler brings me a lot of joy. I love to learn and experience new things. I feel as though travel is the lifeline to my knowledge. I love being in the classroom, but there is no better way to learn about history and life than to explore the world."