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High school travel club visits Ireland and Scotland

FORT KENT, Maine — A group of 20 students, parents and faculty from Fort Kent Community High School visited Ireland and Scotland in April as members of the school’s Travel Club.

The group included Margaret Guimond, the Travel Club advisor, and fellow Fort Kent educator Leslie Marquis.

“The trip was a very fun adventure, and went very smoothly on every level. Our students and travelers were fun, responsible, and truly became a family throughout our trip together,” Guimond said. “We started in Dublin, Ireland, which definitely had a vibrant live music scene. Next, we headed to Northern Ireland, where we learned about the history of Protestant/ Catholic conflicts that happened there — which are still being resolved through peace work to this day.”

The group then took a ferry to Scotland where “we were all pleasantly surprised with the beauty Scotland had to offer,” Guimond said. “Glasgow and Edinburgh impressed us with their unmatched history, while the northern part of the country had us in awe of it’s mountains. This trip was simply amazing. We hiked mountains, biked along lakes, toured castles, went for boat rides, and met tons of locals.”

Sheri and Michael Albert and their son Ian, a junior at Fort Kent Community High School and a member of the Travel Club, also thoroughly enjoyed the excursion.

“Just flying over Ireland took my breath away and brought a tear to my eye,” Sheri Albert said. “I couldn’t believe that we were about to arrive in a land that I’ve only read about and dreamt about visiting. All I kept thinking was, it’s so green……also it was like a quilt with all of its little pastures and rock and shrubbery walls.”

Ian Albert, 17, said he joined the Travel Club two years ago when he learned the group would be visiting Ireland and Scotland.

“I knew I would be going to college and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to travel after high school so I wanted to get one out of the country trip in before everything got crazy,” he said. “It definitely didn’t disappoint; I had a lot of fun.”

One of the memories that stands out for the high schooler happened toward the end of the trip when most of the group took a ferry boat ride around the lake.

“I decided not to go on the boat,” Ian Albert said. “There was a bike rental place right near where we were relaxing and hanging out, so me and one of my friends and a teacher decided to rent bikes. We rode them around the lake and back. That was my favorite part. It was relaxing and just fun.”  

The teenager said he made new friends and learned a lot from the trip.

“You learn about the countries but you also learn about yourself,” he said. “I learned that I’m more of a people person than I thought I was. Once I got around a lot of people that I didn’t know, I broke out of my shell … I got to know a lot of people.”  

The Travel Club has partnered with the company Education First to organize biannual trips to different destinations around the world for over 27 years. In 2021, the Travel Club plans to visit Costa Rica.

“Costa Rica is located in Central America, and this tour will focus on outdoor recreation and natural landmarks. Some highlights will include zip-lining, white water rafting, and cultural awareness,” Guimond said.

Travelers are responsible for paying their own travel expenses but can opt to participate in fundraisers to help alleviate the expenses.

Interested travelers can contact Margaret Guimond at margaretguimond@sad27.org.

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