Kaneland students to visit Europe on trip

By on April 19, 2014

Photo: A group of Kaneland High School students in June will participate in a service trip to Europe. A previous service trip involved students planting trees at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., in order to restore the battlefield to its 1863 condition. Photo submitted to info@elburnherald.com

KANELAND—Tim Wachter, a sophomore at Kaneland High School (KHS), will soon have a chance to travel to France, Belgium and Germany on a school service trip.

“I really like the military history behind it,” Wachter said. “And I think it would be really cool to see all of the things that (the military) saw when they went and pay tribute to all of the people who served there.”

Wachter will be one of 17 Kaneland High School students, ranging from freshman to seniors, going on the June 10 trip.

The service trip is coordinated by Javier Martinez, a social studies teacher at KHS. Students who participate in the trip will do service work with the American Battle Monuments Commission, and will preserve and maintain military cemeteries in France, including Normandy and Aisne-Marne.

It is not determined yet what the students’ tasks will be during the service trip. However, Martinez anticipates that the students will clean the sites and wash World War I and World War II headstones.

“The purpose of the trip is not just the service,” Martinez said. “I mean, that’s part of it. It’s also a history trip.”

Students will have an opportunity to check out sites from both world wars.

“(The trip) is something we offered to the students again to, in a sense, enhance their learning of topics they learned about in school in history class,” Martinez said. “To give them an opportunity to experience some sites in Europe. And the service portion of it is to give them an understanding or an appreciation for some sacrifices that have been made by people for them.”

People interested in assisting the students to take their trip are invited to attend a fundraiser on Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at the Kaneland High School auditorium. The admission of the event is free. Donations will be accepted.

According to Martinez, the money earned will be split evenly between the participating KHS students to defray the cost of the trip. He said each student on average will need $3,500. This amount is “all inclusive,” minus snacks and souvenirs.

“Murph the Protector” is the documentary film that will be shown during the fundraiser. The movie about U.S. Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who lead a four-man SEAL team. Murphy was on an Afghanistan mountaintop back in 2005 when he exposed himself to enemy fire while attempting to call in a rescue for his team.

Murphy was killed during the incident, and was awarded the Medal of Honor by then-President George W. Bush on Oct. 22, 2007.

KHS senior Mike Gorenz said he is excited about the trip, and offered his thoughts on why people should see “Murphy the Protector.”

“I don’t think some people realize what these these guys go through and what they do for us,” Gorenz said. “And I think it’s such an important thing for them to come out and actually realize what goes on and why they need to be memorized and remembered because it’s such a great thing that they do for our country and for everybody else.”