Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Angelica Martini (Central High School)
For 20 lucky students of Central High School Spring Break kicked off four days early. On March 9, scholars representing each graduating class jetted off to Italy to immerse themselves into Italian culture, bringing back new friendships and lessons to be applied in their everyday lives.
Headed by Central High teacher Melissa Berretta, the group traveled around Italy and visited eight different Italian cities from the zipper to the heel of “the boot country.” Milan, Venice, San Gimignano, Florence, Orvieto, Sorrento, Capri and Rome were home until they returned 10 days later.
Travelling by turbulent planes, boat, and a bus, Isabella Gandola was the tour guide who led the group through their adventure. The students were easily able to hurdle the challenge of cultural differences because of her. Daily, Gandola pushed for the proper verbal Italian greetings as she counted aloud seat numbers, she showed them restaurants in which locals ate and as she fearlessly took the group through chaotic European truck stops called Autogrills.
Kamryn Vaux, a junior at Central, described Gandola as the epitome of a proud Italian.
“The people in Italy were very warm and open-minded,” she said. “I loved the way everyone walked confidently and lived their life at their own pace.”
Vaux also mentioned how after her trip she has come to the conclusion that if all Americans could apply the Italians idea of acceptance we could break some of the cultural barriers present at home.
But as every traveler realizes, there are subtle differences between cultures to overcome. On arrival, the group quickly learned that Italians don’t fancy a large breakfast, as do we Americans. This made dining hard in a place where prosciutto and mozzarella were the chicken biscuit substitute. For some students, such as Caleb Taylor, breakfast was the most difficult yet rewarding time.
“I knew that with each bite I had the privilege of embracing authentic Italian food, while most people will never have the opportunity, and for that I am grateful,” Taylor said.
One of the group’s last stops was in Sorrento. Here the group learned how many people in Sorrento depend on the fruits of the land. The vastly growing lemon and orange trees bring in the largest revenues to the town. Sorrento is what Central senior Kate Kelly would call the best part of her trip.
“The people of Sorrento seemed genuine and hardworking,” she said. “It felt as if we were learning from each other. We had something to give them as well as they did us.”
The traveling students were questioned about their voyage on their return: “Where did you go? What did you do? What did you see?”
Out of all of their responses the only thing all of the students could agree on was how the trip wouldn’t have been the same without each other.
“I’ve met new people, learned knew things and made bonds that can never be broken,” Taylor said.