Education Station: John Hay students traveling to Italy

21 students and their art teacher will embark on the trip of a lifetime to see some of the world’s most impressive artwork and structures.

CLEVELAND — It began with an area art teacher’s dream to show her students some of the structures and artwork they’ve only read about.

In a couple of months, her dream will become reality, thanks to help from the community.

Art students at Cleveland Early College High School at John Hay have been working hard for the past year to raise money to go to Italy in the spring.

“They are so excited,” art teacher Cynthia Tapia-Greene, who first pitched the idea to school officials back in 2021, says. “This is truly the trip of a lifetime.”

For nearly a year, 21 students in Tapia-Greene’s architecture class have been doing everything from selling donuts and John Hay lanyards to washing cars and selling dinners to come up with the over $3,000 apiece needed to fund the trip. They’ll visit the Italian cities of Assisi, Florence and Rome — taking in world-renowned architecture like Michelangelo’s colossal statue of David, the Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum.

“It’s a totally different thing to experience that firsthand, to be able to see that, to experience the culture and the language,” says Tapia-Greene, emphasizing that many of her students are from low-income areas. “Some of these students have never even been out of Cleveland. This will be the first time some of them have a passport or that they’ve been on a plane.

“We are practicing Italian, we’ve been learning about some of the places we’re gonna see. They’ve been getting ready for an entire year, and they’re so excited.”

Students are still receiving donations from the community, as several students are shy of their goal. The class leaves for the weeklong trip on March 16, and if you’d like to help, you can email Cynthia Tapia-Greene at [email protected].

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