The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

An Education Vacation

The benefits of Education First touring

Coming up this summer through spring of 2025 are a series of overseas educational tours for students, led by Education First (EF). Upcoming trips include tours of Belize, Spain and a tour of Europe that includes Switzerland, Italy and France—all led by educators and in the company of fellow students.

EF’s goal is to allow students to explore different cultures with the primary focus of educating them and broadening their perspective of the world, as the name suggests. Students have the opportunity to participate in various once-in-a-lifetime activities while also gaining new knowledge on histories and cultures of the places they visit.

Andrea Halfmann, a Language Specialist and English Language Learning teacher for the school district, has led three tours so far and looks forward to leading her upcoming tours of Greece, Italy, the Dominican Republic and Belize.

The tour of Belize, recently featured in Summit’s announcement emails, includes activities such as cave tubing, exploring ancient ruins, river canoeing and ziplining. Halfmann believes that EF tours balance both cultural immersion and fun activities, so students return from trips with a great deal of personal growth.

“[Students] don’t have their parents there to do things for them, they have to figure things out on their own, so they develop some independence skills, some problem solving skills, along with the educational aspect,” said Halfmann. “It really is a huge growth experience personally as well as educationally.”

Summit Junior Bram Gerken, who went on a two and a half week-long educational tour of Japan last summer, felt that he experienced major growth from his experiences on the tour. Gerken would recommend traveling with EF to other students, primarily due to the organization and structure of the trip which allowed his group to experience more than they would’ve if they were unguided.

“You can make some pretty good friends, some connections and all of the structure that’s built into it makes it worth it,” Gerken said.

This summer, an EF tour led by Sydney Levine, a math teacher at La Pine High School and Summit’s Financial Algebra teacher Jake Oelrich will take students to Italy, Switzerland and France.

Keara Kelly, a Summit Junior, is participating in this EF tour of Europe with about 25 other students. Much like Gerken, she feels that a major upside to an EF trip is the structure of daily activities that allows for something new and fun every day.

“I’m excited to see different parts of the world. I’ve been to Europe but not the countries that we’re going to, so I’m excited to see what it’s like—how different it is from here,” said Kelly.

Education First tours offer students the opportunity to educate themselves on different cultures while simultaneously enjoying fun activities along the way—something that leaves a deep impression upon students, according to Halfmann.

“I would say students should go [on an educational tour] because it truly will be a life-changing experience. That’s what [students] come back saying,” said Halfmann.

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Jesse Radzik
Jesse Radzik, Features Editor

Features Editor Jesse Radzik is just like your average grandmother, if said grandmother managed to avoid bone degeneration enough to play varsity tennis. She greatly enjoys reading in little nooks, doddering around on slow river walks, has a great affinity for finding second hand knick knacks, and gains genuine joy from the simple act of birdwatching. Jesse also likes to write. She always writes too much, but people seem to find the end products half decent. See if you agree.

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