Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Trip is Quickly Winding Down!

Don't the good times always go by so quickly? This awsome trip is now winding down with the last full day in Paris. Our now official, culturely rich, young ambassadors are due back tomorrow afternoon on the friendly grounds of the great state of Texas. Yes, I absolutely do recognize the folks in Oklahoma as just as an important piece of the puzzle as anyone! The airport just happens to be in Dallas.

For the arrival information, you can stay up to date about the flight by frequently checking "AA.com" to stay on top of any last minute changes to the offical itineray. Speaking of the itinerary, here's is the arrival information for everone:

1. American Airlines flight # 49 is to arrive at DFW at gate 28 at concourse A at 2:40 P.M..
2. Please meet everyone at the "Baggage Claim" area of Terminal A, Gate 28.
3. Please bookmark the URL "aa.com" in order to stay abreast of any sudden changes that may or may not occur.
4. The official symbol of the departing airport in Paris is "CDG".

Also, as I am sure that everyone knows by now, People to People called this afternoon the let everyone know that the bus carrying the kids was in "a slight incident". Apparently an automobile side swipped the bus and NO ONE WAS HURT OR INJURED IN ANY MANNER. NOT EVEN A SCRATCH". The French aren't exactly known for their solidy built Automobiles, so I am sure the car lost its scuffle with the bus in a major way!

The kids spent the day at Notre Dame, The Louvre and the "Champs-Elysees". Notre Dame is, of course, beautiful but I would think you would have a hard time deciding which of the three is the most attractive. Although, it would take 3 entire weeks to tour the Louvre, I bet is was wonderful just hitting the main dispays. The cultural mind boggles when thinking of the potential sights that are all in one location. I am sure just standing in the "Louvre" is a most gratifying and eye-opeing experience for anyone!!!!!!!!! Of course, the "Champs-Elysees" conjures up so many visions of world history that this also would an awsome experience just by itself. What a fantastic way to end this wonderful trip!

Saying goodbye to "the city of lights' must be difficult for the goup. Then again, I have a feeling that all are looking forward to sleeping in their own beds tomorrow evening in the U.S.A. The flight is scheduled to depart at 10:40am, so I would imagine that most are done packing by now, but I wouldn't be surprised IF there are a few frantically packng for that early wakeup call tomorrow at the Hotel in the morning.

I am sure that everyone had their own special way of saying goodbye to Paris and the pictures being brought home should make for fun for some time to come just hearing about the stories attached to each photo. That is what it's all about afterall!

Sleep well...........we'll C-Ya at DFW tomorrow afternoon.

Day 12

Everyone had a great time at EuroDisney today. The lines were apprarently extremely long but, from what I hear, this day was a dream come true for many and, simply, a blast! The park is divided into five themes. When it was designed, the park relied heavily on Hollywood nostalgia, but you'll find that it has a unique and surprising European feel to it.

The trip is winding down and i think it would be apropriate to recognize what a great goup of kids were on this trip. We should be very thankful that our children have bonded with a bunch of very good kids, you all have some very good and special children and that is a blessing from the Lord. THANKS go out to LINDA for that last comment, but I couldn't help but repeat it because I think it is very accurate.

Saturday is off to Notre Dame and the Louvre! What a fabulous way to end this outstandingly educational and culture trip.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Day 11

Apparently there was alot of rain today in Paris. The morning was used to get acquainted in and around the historical city of Paris. From what I have heard, one of the big events of the day was climbing to the top of The Eiffel Tower. Though I believe this activity was originally scheduled for Friday, things have evoived from what was originally planned from the first draft of the organized schedule . Pardon any discrepencies as sometimes the information communicated may or may not completely be consistent with everything printed, said, discussed or planned.

While in this most beautiful city, the group will (in no specific order) have a great time in discovering one of the most prestigious monuments in the city, the Notre-Dame Cathedral. This building construction began in 1163 and took TWO centuries to complete!! One of the neat things to do when visiting this sight is to see if "you can count the many gargoyles?

On the schedule is something that I think all of us would love to do someday; a visit to the "Musee du Louvre". This tremendous museum is home of one of (if not the) most important art collections in the world today. As many of you know, the museum, itself, is so large it would literally take at least 3 weeks alone just to see all the wonderful treasures held inside of it. According to our schedule, the group will be focusing on the principle parts of the museum including a look at Leonardo's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa.

If they haven't already done so, there certainly will be an opportunity to visit the "Arc de Triomphe", the world's first organized roundabout and Napolean's homage to the armies and himself.

At this point (while the Arc de Triomphe), the famous avenue of the "Champs-Elysees will be just in front of the group for all to take in with wonder. I am sure this is just a tremendously beautiful sight to take in and enjoy.

This day certainly was a photographer's dream come true. Here's hoping that those pictures make it home for us all to see. Also, there hopefully will be an opportunity to actually post some of the photos on this site in the next couple of day.

Everyone have a peaceful evening and rest well knowing that the trip is beginning to wind down to its closure. We all certainly look forward to having our young Ambassadors welcomed home to the U.S.A. From everything that's been heard, this group has done a GREAT job at representing our country and accomplishing what the program is all about! They should all be commended, and done so, with great pride and respect!!!!!!!!

Just heard from Mrs. Long

I just heard from Mrs. Long who wanted me to let everyone know that it is going great and everyone is having a very good time today! The kids were under a time constraint during this call, so I didn't get alot. I will, however, post something later this evening when I have the time to sit down and do it correctly for everyone.

I have to run right now, but I will post later this afternoon or early evening. But, again, Mrs. Long wanted me to make sure I passed the message on this afternoon. Please be patient considering the time crunch that was present.

Steve

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Day 10 finishing in Paris

I want to preface this posting by saying that not alot of information was available through normal channels today. However, for the benefit of those that read this for updating of activities and other news, I thought I would simply go through what was scheduled today. Please also note that I realize that the itinerary evolves on a daily basis and can change accordingly.

Having said that, here is what the group was to participate in today on their travels to Paris, where they will spend the final days of this wonderful trip. 4 nights in Paris is not a bad way to end any travel or adventure creating memories for a lifetime.

Today the group was scheduled to visit the magnificent Chateau de Versailles located just outside the city of Paris. This beautiful chataeu was built during the reign of Louis XIV, the "Sun King". The group should have the opportunity to walk the bejeweled Hall of Mirrors, see the "private chambers" of the Sun King, and wander the vast formal gardens. From 1682 to 1789, the Chateau was the seat of the royal court. Then in 1789, the French Revolution put an end to the monarchy. Today, the palace is used for international gatherings attended by the world's leaders.

Then today's journey will continue and take everyone into the very heart of Paris, the last leg of the journey of this magnificent Tale of Two Cities. Tonight, the schedule calls for everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy a petit French Lesson. Tres bien, n'est pas?? Here's hoping that all of our "young Ambassadors" come home with the abiity to speak just a bit of French, if they don't already do so.

As always, please feel free to "comment" or "email" on any news or updates that you may have heard through various methods. I want everyone to know that the feedback has been wonderful and certainly appreciated as I think the Blog certainly made a world of difference. It defintely gave us the ability to have improved communication/news in a chronoligical basis on one site or URL available to all. I want to make it a point to say thank you for participating and making this a convenient format for one and all.

I do know that email is getting through to the new hotel and is delivered straight through to each child's room. The children just love receiving those emails and it helps brighten their day each time they receive something from home.

Tomorrow it is time to begin exploring the beautiful and culure rich city of Paris.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Great Day!


Great Day!, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

A Great Group Shot of Our 2005 Delegates! They are doing us PROUD!!!!!

Good looking kiddo!


Good lucking kiddo, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Totally Awesome Dude! Way Cool!

Making Friends for Life!


Making Friends for Life!, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Looks like they've known each other forever!

Hello Europe


Hello Europe, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Very high above the great U.K.

We love it here!


We love it here!, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Looking for what?

Europe and Fun


Europe and Fun, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Beautfiful photo op!

Learning in the U.K.


Learning in the U.K., originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Great partnership between the "pond".

Tight Fit


Tight Fit, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

What a great smile, Karina must be having a good time!

Pictures of Great Kids from Europe

High above the U.K. as Student Ambassadors

Monday, June 20, 2005

Overnight Ferry to France/Day 8

The last day In the U.K. was as exciting as they all have been. Today focused on Oxford and getting acquainted with this beautiful university city. England's oldest university was founded here in 1167 I would guess one of the highlights of the trip took place today as the group had the unique opportunity to visit Christ Church College this morning. Why is this so special???................because this is the location that was used in the movie "Harry Potter and the Sourcer's Stone."

Today sights also included the largely respected and mysterious Stonehenge which dates back to 3000 B.C. As you probably all know, there are many, many theories about Stonehenge and exactly what it was used for and how the huge stones were transported the many miles necessary to construct this massive structure.

The day ended with transportation to the anciet dockyards of Portsmouth where the overnight ferry awaited everyone for the trip to France. From everyone's calls and comments this week, it appears as though the U.K. was just wonderful and provided an outstanding experience for the kids. Now it's on to France to absord French culture for a week. Everyone should be able to catch a great night's sleep as they rest to the gentle waves and current of the English Channel.

I didn't hear about alot phone calls today so I really don't know of too many specifics regarding any individuals. I'm sure most of the day was on the run and getting ready for the trip to France.

Next stop; Caen, France!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Last Day in Oxford

Here's the latest direct email from Larry about pictures etc. It looks like we should see some photos, hopefully, in the not too distant future. Here's Larry's comments:

** High Priority **

"I have the equipment that I need...it's just that the hostel will not
unlock the cpu for me to connect....I'm looking for internet cafes as we
tour".

Larry

Larry Turner
Guyer HS Publications Advisor & Spanish Teacher
940-369-1000


Activities:

The day started in Bath, home to Britain's only natural hot spring with water flowing at a constant temperature of 115 degrees F. A Celtic King discovered the baths as far back as 860 B.C. Bath was the most famous spa town in England by the 18th century! Stunning Roman architecture remains from the 1st century settlement throughout this area.

This afternoon, the group journeyed through the Cotsworlds, a range of limestone hills spanning over 500 miles in a north easterly direction from Bath. This is rural England at its absolute finest! I would hope that this made the backdrop for some outstanding pictures for the kids.

Today being father's day, I know alot of fathers received a call from their son/daughter which I am sure was very welcome. Here's hoping that contact was made (one way or another) with each of your children for this special day! Again, it does appear that email remains the best (most efficient) form of communication from and to this location.

I was told that there was plenty of time for shopping during their stay within the Oxford area. Something tells me that some of us can expect to see some "Oxford University" sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc. from this beautiful University area. Maybe some day, we can all wish someone (from this bright group of kids) luck in their Rhodes Scholarship education to Oxford University; we can certainly hope. Wouldn't that be something to generate memories of this trip!!!

Tomorrow is the last day in the U.K., eminating with the over night ferry trip to France. Hopefully everyone is doing very well and will continue to enjoy this outstanding and educationally opportunistic journey. What a lifetime of memories and relationships this should continue to surely build/establish.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Oxford Direct!!!

Good afternoon everyone. I hope all is doing well. It certainly appears as though most of the kids are have a "blast" from everything heard and read. The following is information received this afternoon from Mr. Turner relative to the day in Oxford. I hope you enjoy it.

FYI; it does appear that the best way of communicating in Oxford is through computer email accounts. If your kids know how to access their accounts from "outside" sources, they have complete access in Oxford. This is absolutely the best way to communicate on a consistent basis when in Oxford due to the fact that there are only 2 phones available for everyones delegation, NOT just ours. This information is directly based in facts from the folks on the ground in Oxford.

Here's the TEXT of LARRY'S COMMETS from TODAY:

"The kids had a great time at Warwick Castle. The castle is suited really well for kids. Then we went to Shakespeare's birthplace. An easy day for them. I assure you that they are NOT homesick WHEN we are busy and out and about. Come night-time signs of exhaustion and homesickness is evident, especially for those making and receiving numerous phone calls. Some kids are getting emails sent to the hostel which is AWESOME. They love getting those emails. We still have one more day here...don't know the address though...Please post Chase's ATM card now works".

Larry

REPEAT: Chase's ATM card is NOW WORKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Message directly from Larry/sent from Oxford

Please find attached an email recieved directly from Larry in Oxford. I will "cut and paste" his message to avoid any confusion through interpretation. Thanks for your understanding!

"I'm sorry that I haven't emailed sooner, but this is the first place that I have internet access (Oxford). The kids are doing great! They have blended really well with the Ohio delegation.

We've been keeping to our schedule, so you know what we've been up to. I have digital pictures, but can't sent here in the Hostel as they don't have the plug that I need....I'll keep trying!!

By the way the doors at the hostel do lock from the outside....luggage will be safe!

IMPORTANT!!!!!
I know everyone wants to hear from their kids by phone, but this is extremly difficult if not impossible with 38 students and other large delegations with the same numbers at our hotels. The hostel has only 2 phones no room phones. Some students have told us that their parents want them to call every night. Again, this is just impossible and not fair to the other delegations. I ask for your understanding in this matter when we tell the kids you can't call every night. Of course, the ones who haven't called at all may do so. The calling card process is also difficult, but I've been helping them all.

Please feel free to send faxes to hostel or emails. There are 2 computers that they can use for a pound for 12 minutes, so send them emails to their accounts!!! Maybe they will check them. I'll let them know you may send an email to their own account.

Be advised they do love hearing from you, but this also makes them homesick.

Diane and I are enjoying your kids greatly. This by far has been the best group that I have ever taken!!! Honest!!
Behavior is top notch...you should be proud! We are for you!!

The excitement on their faces one they see the sights is priceless".

Thanks,

Larry

Please excuse the typos!!

Party This Sunday

There will be a parent's party this Sunday evening at 6:00pm. There were a couple folks who said 7:00 pm would be a better time, so please come when you can. The following is the information for the party:


When: Sunday, June 19, 2005
Place: Agave Azul Restaurant
Location: I-35E and Frankford (just South of Vista Ridge Mall)
Time: 6:00 pm, but please feel free to arrive a little later if you need to.
Kids (?): Yes

RSVP: To Donna Bickert - asap, thanks.


We all look forward to seeing those that can attend.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Day 3 Acitivities

Hi all -

First, and importantly, it does now appear that the emails and faxes that have been sent to specific children are all getting through to each of them. That's great news! Apparently, yesterday not all of the emails were opened by staff and/or printed causing some to not receive their messages. The hotel sends along their apologies for any concern caused on that front.

Also, I asked my daughter to be sure to track down Mr. Turner and ask him to send us some photographs so I can then post them. Though he is very busy, as is Diane, I am really hoping to have actual pictures to post soon because I know that everyone is anxious to see some live pictures of what is happening as the kids enjoy everything that is going on.

What is really cool is that everyone is bonding and enjoying each other so well. Again, from what I am told, it does apear that this is a great bunch together and hopefully lifetime friendships are being made. I have found that to be also true of the parents as it seems that everyone is enjoying communicating with each other. The party idea of John and Donna was certainly well received and should be a nice time for all that attend.

As for today's activities in the U.K., another full day was enjoyed by all. A brief summary:

A visit to the Cabinet War Room was exciting and informative as for those that like history surely enjoyed learning as much as possible about WWII and how/why this room was used. Winston Churchill's underground headquarters was part of the tour which I am sure was a great time for the kids. Alot of history was talked about here discussing such things as "the Blitz" which devasted much of London during the War.

Then they were off to Buckingham Palace to include a chance to see the "changing of the guards" which I am sure was also exciting. The group was taught how to tell if the Queen is actually present at the time based on how many guards are outside the Palace. Sometimes, I think I am learning as much as they are by typing these posts.

Everyone attended a drama workshop this afternoon at the London Theatre Museum. For those that love the arts/theatre this offered a great chance to be stimulated and entertained as I hope most of the kids were. I am looking forward to reading some of the comments about how the kids enjoyed this.

The River Thames was cruised today by the group which gave everyone a chance to see for themselves some of London's most famous sights. From what I was told, this cruise was big hit by most kids. Nothing like a "boat ride" to get everyone excited. This always seems to have a positive effect and get everyone "jazzed".

The cruise led to what had to be the event of the day, for the kids anyway, and that was the "London Eye", the largest Ferris wheel in the world. This sight was originally built for the Millenium celebration and has become quite the large attraction. I imagine the kids just loved riding this today as that is what I heard about most during the course of my 10 minute conversation. Just a note, this ride is 443 ft. high and offers amazing views of the city in all of it's splendour. From what I heard, there were alot of pictures taken today especially from the London Eye. Hopefully, I can get some of them posted soon.

The food seems to still be "acceptable" for most. I know some can be picky (mine for sure) but most seem to be keeping an open mind about what is being served. I did, however, hear about "the soggy sandwiches" at lunch. I suspect they all really weren't soggy but that's what I was told. Actually, I am sure they were probably delicious for most and enjoyed by most.

So another day comes to an end in London. Tomorrow, the group will be traveling again, with an early departure and the next destination being Oxford. Maybe one of our little scholars will end up being a Rhodes Scholar and attend Oxford after college. You never know.

I hope everyone has a great night's sleep. Please continue to take advantage of making comments by clicking on the word "comment" at the bottom of each day's post. Eveyone's input is always encouraed and welcomed!

Everyone have a great night!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Day Number 2

Today was filled with many interesting events and information. To sum it up, here is as much as I could piece together about today's acitivites.

1. The group had a chance to meet with a member of the House of Parliament. Unfortunately, there was an "important" debate going on at the time (impeding the effort to tour), but the coolest thing was the member they met at Parliament had just been "crowned" by the Queen. I know everone thought that was very exciting and "way cool".

2. From what I was told, the absolute amazing event of the day was when the group saw the "Crown Jewels". Apparently this was a very impressive event that should create a lifetime of memories. There were lots of great pictures taken, but until I receive them via email, I can't post them. I will do so as soon as possible for everone's enjoyment. Larry is the point person for all pictures sent over and they will be posted as soon as they are received.

3. Food: They continue to become acclimated with the different kinds of food. Many different types were tried, including a beef that was wrapped in a kind of bread. What I heard consitently was that the fascination was that "French Fries" are served with most meals and that are called "chips". Of course the "chips" are not in the form they are all used to.

4. The Play (Theatre) which was attended in the evening was "Chiity Chitty Bang Bang" and is was a big hit for the kids. This was enjoyed very much and everyone arrived back at the Hotel late in the evening. It's great that they were able to experience the culture of the Theatre along with everything else taken in.

Then the "fun" with the room keys began:

Somehow there was a problem with everyone's room keys, as they did not work when they arrived back from the theatre. It took about 1-1.5 hours to rectify the situation and get everyone situated. I spoke with my daughter around what would have been past midnigt in the U.K. and she was still "wound up" from the day. Let's hope they sleep well.

Also, for those that sent emails to the Hotel for their children; from what I have learned NO one received theirs. Upon placing a direct call to the hotel, they informed me that the best method of writing a message was using their Fax maching for messages in the future. I know Larry and Diane are working on it, but please don't count on anyone receiving emails until future notice.

All in all, this was another great day for everyone. I have heard from my daughter several times since arrival. She says they were teamed up with members of the other contingency (Kentucky and Ohio) and she really liked her new roomate from Kentucky. I spoke briefly with her roomate and she was very pleasant. She didn't have a calling card, so Danielle was sharing hers with her so she could call home.

Here's hoping for some phots tomorrow that I will post immediately for everyone. Unfortunately, I at the whim of the leaders finding a computer they can use to send pix and messages to me, but I asked Danielle to ask Mr. Turner to see what could be done on this front. Everyone keep their fingers crossed as I know we all would like to see some photos.

THANKS go out to everyone that has been participating in postings and comments as this method of communcation seems to be working very well for all. Also, everyone's emails are appreciated very much to keep everone in the loop as much as possible.

There should certainly be additional information available tomorrow which will be posted as well. So far, it does sound like the kids are doing great and enjoying themselves very much. That's GREAT!!!!! Let's continue to pray for nothing but the best for them all.

Have a great evening.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

First Full Day in the UK

Today was the first full day in the UK for the group. The kids are "exhausted" as it is about 9:00pm as of this writing. From what I was told, things went smoothly upon arrival and continued that way throughout the day. As most know, the day was spent going to Windsor Castle, Britain's oldest residence for the Queen and her family. Unfortunately, though they tried, a meeting with the Queen was not in the cards today, so a tour of the castle sufficed.

The groups had lunch and made way to Runnymede for more sightseeing and a visit to the JFK Memorial, which is on land that is actually property owned by the United States. This sight is in Runnymede, again one if the UK's most historict sights. For any history buffs, it was here that the Magna Carta was signed in 1215.

Everyone is at the hotel now after a very nice dinner. It sounds like they are looking forward to a very deep and long night's sleep, who can blame them. I am sure, as of this writing, that parents and children are burning up the phone lines. Hopefully, everyone has had a chance to speak with their children by now.

Tomorrow it is off to Parliament and a visit with the British Consititution.

Monday, June 13, 2005

They're Off to Europe!

Things seemed to go very smoothly today as the group gathered at DFW Airport. Everyone looked great and it apeared that they were ready for a great trip. There were alot of smiling faces both among parents and the kids going on the trip. Ticketing went smoothly and getting through security was easier than would have been expected.

This is a great bunch of kids and they should do great as they visit different cities in England and France. I think the People to People Program did a great job of identifying and choosing some fantastic representatives of the U.S. to make this trip abroad. Many thanks go out to Diane and Larry for all of their outstanding efforts. We wish them all the luck in the world working with this group for the next couple of weeks.

I guess we can all expect phone calls late, late, late this evening somewhere between 1:00am and 3:00am but I am sure we will be happy to take the calls. To that extent, we wish everyong the best and happy travels. Everyone's blessings and prayers will be with the group.

SOME of the pictures are posted below that were taken at DFW Airport. I hope you enjoy them. To see ALL the photos taken, please click on the Flckr Icon on the left which should take you directly to the gallery. I'll keep them as updated as possible.

Again, your feedback is always welcome. Have a great evening!

One Final Group Shot Before Departure


14 great iPhotos, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

What a great looking group of kids!!!

Group getting ready to say goodbye


14 great iPhotos, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Getting everyone ready for ticketing. Have a great trip!

Saying Goodbye for 2 weeks


14 great iPhotos, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

The send off at DFW

Friends for Life?


14 great iPhotos, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Can't wait to get on that plane.

Can we say Larry is excited for the trip -what a smile!


14 great iPhotos, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

Grouping together at DFW on day of departure.

N. TX Delegation off to England


14 great iPhotos, originally uploaded by skrohn107.

What a great looking group!