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Opa! Pittman sets sights on CCHS student trip to Greece

Opa! Pittman sets sights on CCHS student trip to Greece
Charles City High School social studies teacher Robert Pittman received unanimous permission from the Charles City Community School District Board of Education Monday to plan a student trip to Greece in the spring of 2021. (Press photo James Grob.)
By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

Charles City High School social studies teacher Robert Pittman has his sights set on the cradle of Western civilization.

Pittman, who organizes international spring break trips every few years for CCHS juniors and seniors, received unanimous permission from the Charles City Community School District Board of Education to plan a trip to Greece in the spring of 2021.

“These trips are a great way for students to push their boundaries as adults and develop the independent skills they need to succeed in a globally connected world,” Pittman said.

The trip to Greece will be for students who are now juniors and sophomores. Pittman has led eight such trips to a variety of distant destinations over the years, and has taken students as far as China. The most recent trip was in 2017, when Pittman took students to Costa Rica.

Pittman said the trip will focus on the culture and history of Greece, highlighting Greece’s influence on Western civilization. He said he also wants to include a science aspect to the trip this time, where the kids get to look into the climate and biology of the nation. Pittman said the students will also grow in their global awareness and citizenship.

“Repeatedly, students have had their eyes opened up on these trips to see the possibilities before them,” he said. “This trip will epitomize our district’s desire to engage, inspire and empower students to succeed in their future.”

Pittman pointed to the trips often taken by students in the German program at CCHS as examples, and mentioned the German students and other foreign exchange students who visit the district every year. He said that the trip falls in line with the school district’s emphasis on 21st century life skills.

“Several of those skills you learn as you travel. It gives you some great opportunities to explore those and try them out in different situations,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing to keep doing in our district.”

The students will explore Athens, will take a day cruise to three islands off the west coast of Greece, and will visit the cities of Epidaurus, Mycenae, Olympia, Argolida and Delphi. Students will also get highlights of Greek culture by exploring many temples and participating in hands-on activities and cultural exchanges.

Each of the eight trips Pittman has led has been done with the student travel company Education First. Pittman anticipates 15-20 students will sign up for the trip, at a cost of roughly $3,168. Students can expect to offset their cost between $100 to over $400. Three chaperones, including Pittman, will travel with the students.

Fundraisers include Butterbraid sales in the fall and a chili supper during the wrestling season.

“We are also looking to also take advantage of some opportunities at our community’s revamped Pizza Ranch,” Pittman said. “We try to do different things to help kids afford the trip.”

He said there were state and national organizations that sometimes offer help, and that there were individuals and organizations in Charles City who are always looking to help offset the costs of trips such as this.

Pittman said that typically students who raise the money on their own seem to get more out of the trip.

“The kids that have always had to work for it … those are the kids that want to try more things and really go after it,” he said.

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