Most people find it difficult to hold a straight face for several minutes, but sentries in the Queen’s Guard manage to keep this position for hours.
Local students discovered this Thursday with Union City Middle School teacher Mary Hellen Johnson and her husband, David, their chaperones. They saw Buckingham Palace and took pictures with the guards as part of the Cosmos Travel Co. trip “St. Paul’s to St. Peter’s,” which was booked by the Union City Rotary Club through Travel One in Union City.
Lindsay Castellaw, who will be a senior at Obion County Central High School this year, said the activity was “fun” and enjoyed the sight of the guards in their “large, black fur hats.”
Miss Castellaw joins OCCHS students Matthew Kegan Tittle and Allison Wicker; South Fulton High School student Zack Vaughn; and Union City High School students Macie Britt, Destiny Powers, Garrett Ransom and Grant Ransom on the Rotary Club’s fourth 12-day all-expense-paid trip to Europe.
The students were selected for the four-nation travel opportunity in January. The Rotary Club based their selection on applications, an interview session and financial information, which ensured only students who could not otherwise afford the trip were considered for the educational excursion.
The students were not allowed to bring their cell phones or laptops to Europe. Instead, a different student phones home each day to check in. Their family then relays the information to the other students’ families through a “calling tree.” The time difference puts the group six hours ahead of Central Standard Time, which forces them to determine an appropriate time to call home.
Miss Castellaw called Thursday and said the group was having a great time. They enjoyed a rare sunny day and were rejoined in touring by Garrett Ransom who was sick their first day in London.
The students and their chaperones visited St. Paul’s Cathedral Thursday morning and saw the Tower of London that afternoon.
The “beautiful” cathedral differed greatly from London’s most ominous tourist site. The Tower used to hold prisoners who were later executed by past monarchs.
Today prisoners no longer reside within its walls. The local group of students and chaperones instead saw other tourists who wanted to inspect the historical site and the Crown Jewels. The visitors had no reason to fear the end of their short stay unlike past guests.
When Miss Castellaw’s mother spoke with her daughter around noon local time, they were gift shopping and planning to have dinner at the hotel. Miss Castellaw said the British cuisine was “good and freshly prepared.”
“She loves London,” Mrs. Castellaw said in her email to other parents. “And their adventure is just beginning!”
The group left London behind this morning when they boarded the Eurostar bus for Paris, where they will explore the Louvre, Notre Dame, Versailles and the iconic Eiffel Tower. After two nights there, they will continue to Lucerne and Lugano in Switzerland and Verona, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome in Italy.
Look for more stories about the student travelers in The Messenger next week.
Messenger intern Katie Donaldson is a student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Published in The Messenger 6.29.12