MSS students tour Italy at March Break, plan further European adventures

Manitoulin Secondary School students and their chaperones pose at Pompeii, Italy.

M’CHIGEENG—Manitoulin Secondary School students just got back from a trip of a lifetime to Italy over the March Break with Education First Tours!

The Mustangs arrived in Rome around 9:30 am Italy time and went directly on a sightseeing tour of the Colosseum.

“It was pretty amazing and our students were thoroughly impressed with its size and history,” said trip organizer Dawn Noble McCann. “The next morning we visited the Vatican, which also included the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. The buildings were surreal and our students took in every minute of it. Sometimes I would hear them talk about how they felt like they were in a story book or a movie.”

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That afternoon the students took in the Piazza di Spagna, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The next morning, the Mustangs got up and visited the Catacombs of Rome before travelling to a smaller town called Sorrento, a coastal town in southwestern Italy, facing the Bay of Naples on the Sorrentine Peninsula. “It is a beautiful town and our hotel was on the water, so we were able to walk the beach and enjoy the picturesque scenery.”

The next day, the students and their chaperones visited Pompei “which I personally think was a major highlight of the trip,” Ms. Noble McCann said. “The history behind Pompeii along with the artifacts displayed and stories told by our guide captivated our students as it was demonstrated by the questions they asked, the amount of pictures they took and of course the souvenirs they bought all with Mt. Vesuvius standing in the background. Again, another surreal day for our group.”

On the Tuesday of the trip, the group visited Assisi, which is a religious hill town in central Italy’s Umbria region. “It was pretty neat as we were able to walk through a couple of different churches including the Basilica of St. Francis, which is a massive, two-level church, consecrated in 1253,” Ms. Noble McCann said. “The frescoes were incredible and of course the stories and history behind the town and the church was amazing.”

“That night we stayed at a hotel in Montecatini, which is close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa,” the teacher continued. “Going to Italy and not visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa wasn’t an option, so we made sure we spent some time there where the students took in a guided tour and of course did the obligatory Pisa pose where it looks like they are pushing over the Tower of Pisa. Again, another major highlight of our trip!”

The following day the merry band of Mustangs headed to Florence, which is known for its architecture and various forms of art displayed throughout the city. This included a guided sightseeing tour of the city as well as a stop to see the Duomo, which showcases gothic style designs.

The last couple of days were spent taking in a castle in Ferrara and taking in the sights and novelties of Venice. The Doges Palace was a real treat to see along with the sights of St Mark’s Square, which was a bit flooded when the group arrived. “This made walking on an elevated walkway very interesting until the water eventually drained by the midafternoon,” Ms. Noble McCann said. “We ended the trip with a bang by taking in a gondola ride through the canals of Venice, which goes without saying was another major highlight of trip.”

“All in all, the international trip to Italy was a huge success,” Ms. Noble McCann added. “It allowed for students to step outside their comfort zone and experience a world beyond the classroom and our Island. As a teacher, it was exciting to see these kids experience new foods, cultures and people and watch them navigate through new situations with confidence and maturity. I got to see many positive changes take place as they got to experience this life-changing journey and I feel honored to be a part of that experience.”

“As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, I feel that it is important for our students to become culturally aware, explore new ideas and grow their potential,” she continued. “I believe that when students are able to see culture come to life that they develop a new and valuable perspective of the world.”

With this in mind, MSS has decided to move forward in planning for another international trip over the March Break of 2020 that will take them back to Europe. This time, however, they are planning on taking in Ireland, Scotland and England over the duration of 10 days. “Students are super excited and we already have 27 students signed up,” Ms. Noble McCann said. 

For students wanting to sign up for the trip, they can get $150 off the original price by signing up before the end of April—all they have to do is visit the EF Tours website at or talk to Mrs. Noble McCann any time at school.