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Island students make their way to Disney

Shelter Island school students enjoyed a successful five-day trip to Florida’s Disney World in December.

The group included 16 8th graders and 11 9th graders, three parent chaperones and five school chaperones. They visited all four parks (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios). They played mini golf and had time to swim in the pool.

Typically the visit would include an educational seminar but Disney was not running them due to COVID. 

COVID had caused the 9th graders to cancel this trip last year; as a result, they combined their trip with the current 8th graders.

“This was our first time in about 30 years that we had to take two classes together,” adviser Jennifer Gulluscio said.  “It was very successful, and we are looking to do a combined trip for 8th and 9th graders going forward, as it was advantageous in many ways.”

For about 15 of the students, she said, this trip represented their first time on an airplane. For more than half the group, this was their first visit to Disney. For most of them, this was the first time away from their parents, and for a small group, a first time staying in a hotel. 

For the past few months, the students worked hard to raise the money for the trip through fundraisers such as car washes. Ms. Gulluscio especially acknowledged members of the community who sent in donations when they heard a few students were a little short of their goal.

The trip always involves months of planning, with an extra layer of complexity this year during the pandemic. “Upon our return, we all took COVID tests which came back negative,” Ms. Gulluscio said, “so all the protocols we put into place were worth it.”