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St. Charles Students Fly Across the Pond

By Alli Pero and Erin Powell 


With the coronavirus pandemic in the rearview mirror, students at St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace took the trip of a lifetime this summer as they explored Ireland, Wales, and England.  The 9-day trip afforded students with the opportunity to drive along the Ring of Kerry, kiss the Blarney Stone, and walk the streets of Shakespeare’s hometown.


Science teacher and St. Charles alumnus Shawn Madere met his group of 18 (including two chaperones, fellow faculty members Kate Abreo and Connie Powell) at the New Orleans airport for their July 11th flight to Dublin, where they quickly immersed themselves in the beautiful 60-degree weather of Ireland as they explored their first castle.


Rising senior Alli Pero commented, “Traveling is largely eye opening. Experiencing different things definitely made the trip worthwhile. In Ireland, the temperature was the most immediate change. I’d never experienced 56 degrees in the summer. In addition to climate, the food was the greatest difference. It was nothing like I expected. I must say the most exciting part of this experience was the beautiful scenery. Ireland definitely had tremendous beauty within its landscapes and natural views and England’s beauty struck within its architecture. It is a true blessing that I was able to experience and take part in different cultures and traditions.”


Another rising senior, Erin Powell, whose mom and two older sisters accompanied her, stated,  “The fresh air is incredible, and it feels like an unworldly experience to interact with and learn about different cultures and people. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I am so glad to have been a part of. I learned so much about the countries we traveled to, tasted so many different cultural dishes, and saw some of the most beautiful scenes to ever exist. I wish I could do it all over again and see the scenes like I did the first time. Traveling to a foreign country allows people to experience such an innocent curiosity and genuine happiness towards the world and all that it has to offer.”


A teacher of physics and anatomy, Mr. Madere has been taking students to Europe since 2017.  Although he was unable to travel for the past two summers because of the pandemic, he still carries with him the wonderful memories he and his former students made in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland from 2017 to 2019.  He also looks forward to accompanying students to Italy next summer as well as Switzerland and France in 2024.


Any teachers in our area who are interested in traveling with their own students can contact Shawn Madere at for information on how to get started.  The educational travel company that he uses at St. Charles Catholic has offices all over the world and offers trips not only to Europe but also to South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.


Alli Pero and Erin Powell are seniors at St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace.




St. Charles Catholic students pose in front of Big Ben in London.  From left to right:  Alexia Desselles, Barry Cummins, Alli Pero, Samantha DeFrancesch, Erin Powell, Margaret Powell, Allison Powell, Chloe Barnett, and Morgana Lee.