A historical journey


Dyllan Jones

Dyllan Jones, Staff Writer

Ten days to most people is just a unit of time. To Jeff Fehr and Bill Peeper, it’s a promise of adventure and, in many ways, an educational experience that can be brought back to benefit the student body and local community.

Through a rural trust opportunity known as the Global Teacher Program provided by the Rural School and Community Trust, the two teachers found a window of opportunity to travel across the ocean and cultural borders without having to pay a dime out of pocket.

Fehr and Peeper are two Iola High School teachers with a dream to experience firsthand some of the world’s history; a dream that takes place in Western Europe, home to some of the most revolutionary inventions and ideals to impact mankind, as well as some of its greatest destructive forces.

Now that this goal has been made a reality, the two history instructors will be traveling that stretch of the world together and experience incredible wonders both natural and man-made.

The travel was, from its inception, an unlikely shot in the dark for the two teachers.

First, at the time of application there were no other persons from Kansas who had been accepted in the past; a foreboding sight for aspiring travelers from the state. Afterward, they had to plot their trip and budget amenities along the way.  Shortly after all that was finished, both teachers had to undergo a form submission process that required a valid reason for the trip. To top off the stress level, they only had three days to make or break their chances.

Although it may have seemed impossible for a couple of teachers in a small town to win a spot in a program that accepted only 25 candidates, they did, and wasted no time in involving their students in the experience, just as promised.

By allowing students from each of Peeper’s history classes to submit T-shirt designs to be worn by the two on their excursion, the instructors have already begun to immerse the classes in the experience by providing ample opportunity for creative expression and a way to set them apart from the crowd while representing the high school.

In an interview with Fehr regarding the group’s intentions abroad, he enthusiastically said that they would be, “learning about Vikings on up.”

Interestingly, there are personal motivations behind Fehr and Peeper’s decision to travel exclusively to Europe. Besides enriching themselves and students with knowledge they gain from the trip, the two plan on visiting their ancestral homes in Western Germany.

Fehr and Peeper will begin their journey across Europe near the end of the summer.

In closing, Fehr expressed his gratitude to those providing for the upcoming experience, “We would like to thank the Rural Education and Trust for making us fellows on this trip, it is a pretty neat opportunity to see what we can learn and bring it back to small town schools; that’s the whole purpose to all this. It’s not a big city thing, and very rarely do [rural schools] get an opportunity to do something like this.”