French and Spanish Club Go on Annual Busch Gardens Trip

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French and Spanish Club Go on Annual Busch Gardens Trip

Spanish and French Club members pose outside of the Busch Gardens Tower.

Spanish and French Club members pose outside of the Busch Gardens Tower.

Spanish Teacher Andy Martin

Spanish and French Club members pose outside of the Busch Gardens Tower.

Spanish Teacher Andy Martin

Spanish Teacher Andy Martin

Spanish and French Club members pose outside of the Busch Gardens Tower.

Grace Frascati, Reporter

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The students in French and Spanish club recently went on their annual trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. The trip took place on Oct. 14 and was meant to expose the students to different cultures from various European countries. French teacher Lynn McCrady and Spanish teacher Andy Martin are the sponsors for the French and Spanish Club, and they traveled with the students on the trip to Busch Gardens.
The French and Spanish club began sixteen years ago, when McCrady began teaching at RCHS. The club is made up of students from both French and Spanish classes, but not all students take both languages.
“The French and Spanish Club are two separate units, but we’re together, so it is one club, but you don’t have to do both,” said McCrady. “We try to do something Spanish related or French related together, or we’ll have two separate meetings, but students can go to either meeting or any of the events to experience the cultural idea or agenda for that day.”
The Busch Gardens trip allows students to experience the cultures they learn about in the French and Spanish club meetings.
“The trip was really to promote culture because Busch Gardens, even though it is in the United States, does a lot of authentic cultural experiences with France, Germany, and England, so we don’t have to leave the state of Virginia to actually have an authentic European experience,” said Martin.
Authentic characteristics add to the uniqueness of Busch Gardens and make it similar to the actual countries represented.
“I like going to Busch Gardens, not only for getting a feeling of old world, but also seeing authentic words written everywhere, as well as famous streets, places, or monuments throughout the park,” said McCrady. “It’s really nice because, even if it’s not French or Spanish, the students are learning and seeing different cultural aspects of the world, which is important to their studies. When we were in Germany there, I heard a lot of German speaking because there were lots of other tourists from different places.”
McCrady enjoys the variety that the trip provides compared to typical club meetings.
“I like to promote relationships and also give the students something fun to look forward to because we do so much academically, so they need time to release and also learn something new,” said McCrady.
The students had to wake up early for the three hour commute to Busch Gardens. Junior Angel Smith, who is enrolled in French class, went on the Busch Gardens trip for her second time. The trip took place during Octoberfest, which is a period during October where the amusement park is Halloween themed. It includes haunted houses, decorations, and park employees dressed as characters to scare people.
“We took a bus and it felt like forever to get there. Once we got there, we kind of wandered around and did whatever we wanted,” said Smith. “Due to Octoberfest, around 6 p.m. there was a bunch of Halloween stuff. We left at about 8:50 p.m. and got back around 12 a.m.”
Senior Nils Ekdahl is a French Two student who also went on the trip.
“I enjoyed how structured it was and how we all had our tickets. While it was structured, it was also free,” said Ekdahl. “We got there and our teachers told us when to be back and we were free to go and do whatever we wanted to do.”
Ekdahl also enjoyed the Halloween festivities present at the Octoberfest celebration.
“For the theming of the season, because it’s Halloween, they have different monsters from different folklore of the countries,” said Ekdahl. “For example, the vampires were in England. I liked the one in the New France section with the Vikings”
Smith was fascinated by the cultures represented at Busch Gardens.
“I’m from Ireland, so getting the chance to see other cultural things from different places that I’ve never been is a super exciting thing for me,” said Smith.
With the cultures represented at Busch Gardens comes a variety of traditional foods.
“I like the foods from the different regions, such as Little Italy and Little France, because those are places I have not ever been to,” said Smith.
The Busch Gardens trip provides an opportunity for the French and Spanish club members to be brought together by their enjoyment of the different cultures of the world.
“I love having the kids get out, wanting to get up early on a Sunday, hang out all day, and be so exhausted coming back,” said McCrady. “Just seeing them bond and have a really good time while laughing is what the trip is about.”

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