Spring break trip to Greece ends with chaotic travel


Ellis Calleri

SITE SEEING. Students explore architectural sites throughout Greece during the world language department-sponsored spring break trip to Greece. Numerous problems arose for the group when trying to return to Chicago after a national strike of Greek air traffic controllers. Still, some students say, it was a fun and unforgettable experience.

Sahana Unni, Features Editor

After spending nine days visiting various temples, museums and architectural sites throughout Greece, the three chaperones and 26 students participating in the world language department-sponsored spring break trip to Greece faced numerous challenges and set backs returning to Chicago. A national strike of Greek air traffic controllers held on March 16 in response to a train crash caused some U-High students and chaperones to be rerouted through German and United States airports before arriving in Chicago on March 19. 

According to world language teacher Frances Spaltro, this trip had more students in attendance than ever before, which made rebooking flights from Greece more difficult. After all students and chaperones were put on a flight to Munich on March 17, the large group was forced to split up.

“Although we had given our detailed requirements for how the group would be split, Lufthansa, the airline, split us in a way that was very uneven, so five students were sent home with two chaperones, while 21 students were kept in Munich with one chaperone,” Ms. Spaltro said.

After spending two days in Germany, chaperone Gabriel Baker, a history teacher, traveled with the 21 remaining students to Denver. The travel agency was unable to book the same flight for the whole group, so students called their parents to schedule individual flights to Chicago on March 19. 

Junior Eliza Dearing said they were able to keep a positive attitude until having to leave the group.

“I had never flown alone, and then we separated at the airport,” Eliza said. “I was by myself at the airport and I was away from everyone who I’d been with for like three weeks.”

While junior Leila Battiste said the journey back to Chicago was chaotic, she described the trip as “enriching and educational,” specifically enjoying the museums and Greek food.

“I still would say it was a really positive experience,” Leila said. “It was one of the best experiences of my life. It’s something I’ll never forget and I think somebody should always sign up in the future if they’re interested.”