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4/10/2019
Learning through travels: Kayhi teachers lead tours for students
Ketchikan High School teachers Leigh Woodward, left, and Allegra Machado pause at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece during a 2018 tour. Photo courtesy of Allegra Machado


By DANELLE LANDIS
Daily News Staff Writer

Ketchikan High School teachers Allegra Machado and Leigh Woodward have been nominated as “Outstanding Global Youth Trip Leaders” to participate in an all-expenses-paid teacher enrichment training trip in Lisbon, Portugal May 23 through May 28.

The pair has led semiannual trips for Kayhi students for the past 12 years through Education First Educational Tours.

During their Portugal stay, they will have the opportunity to collaborate with educators and group leaders from around the globe, while learning a number of exercises they plan to use to enrich their classrooms and future tours.

“It was like a reward for us, but also a way for us to go check out Portugal, because that’s where we’re taking students next year,” Woodward said.

They anticipate the upcoming June, 2020 tour to include about 35 students and parents.

Trips that the pair have led have taken them and their students to Greece, Peru, Spain, London, Paris and Italy.

The trips are not school sanctioned, Machado said. The trips are entirely privately funded, and the teachers participate in the summers, while school is not in session.

Woodward said it’s been very rewarding to see how the tours have inspired past participants to seek out more travel opportunities after they graduate.

“The students that go on these trips are the same students who end up going on exchange in college and then, traveling the world, and it’s just so interesting,” Woodward said.

“This is that trip that I think opens that door for a lot of kids,” she added.

Machado said it’s been rewarding, also, to see students who never have traveled beyond Ketchikan, to see the world abroad for the first time.

Machado was first inspired to travel with students in 2005, when she was a chaperone with then-Kayhi teachers Peter Bolling and Sal Beraldi, and a group of students on a trip to London, Paris and Barcelona.

When she later began to teach at Kayhi, she decided she would continue student tours through the EF Educational Tours company that Bolling and Beraldi used, as did retired Kayhi French teacher Myra Zelensky, who led students on trips to France.

Comparing their tour groups to more traditional exchange programs, Woodward said, “I feel like this sort of whets people’s appetite and it gets them thinking ‘well, maybe I could go on exchange.’”

Machado and Woodward’s program also inspired another teacher pair to start leading tours.

Point Higgins Elementary School teacher Marisa Frey and Schoenbar Middle School teacher Chad Frey plan to bring a group to Italy in June, 2020, Woodward said. Chad Frey was inspired after traveling with Machado and Woodward’s 2018 group tour to Greece as a chaperone.

Kayhi teacher Julie Landwehr will be bringing a group to Switzerland and Germany during spring break, 2020. The Freys’ group and Landwehr’s group also will be booked through EF educational tours.

One advantage that EF offers, Woodward said, is a full-time tour director during the trip, to safely lead the group through tours and adventures.

Machado and Woodward said they were very surprised when they were nominated for the training trip to Lisbon.

They each received the email notification of their nominations separately, and Machado laughed when she said she was excited, but also afraid to tell Woodward, in case Woodward hadn’t gotten the email.

Woodward also laughed, and said she had the same reaction.

“It’s incredible,” Machado said.

The pair said that Interested students still can sign up for the 2020 Portugal/Spain/France trip until about Thanksgiving. The tour also can be reviewed online at www.eftours.com/2152274px.