Ancient Europe comes to life for Casula High students

On the school trip of a lifetime, Casula High students and teachers explored the wonders of the ancient European world. Pascal Adolphe reports.

A group of people standing in front of a statue. A group of people standing in front of a statue.
Image: Students and staff from Casula High visit the statue of Julius Caesar in Rome.

A group of 10 students and four teachers from Casula High embarked on an ancient history voyage of discovery to Europe during the April school holidays.

Year 12 student Carmen Behrouzi described the trip to visit ancient historical sites as “like an out of body experience”.

The group visited Zurich, Athens, Naples, Sorrento and Rome to experience sites such as the Athenian Acropolis, the Parthenon, Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Colosseum, Pantheon, Pompeii and Herculaneum, Ancient Olympia, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica.

Carmen said the trip “brought to life” what the students had learned in the classroom, with her personal highlight being a visit to the Parthenon.

“It’s mesmerising – how it was built; the significance it was to the society at the time,” she said.

“Taking this trip was really a great life experience. Every day it was something new, something amazing.”

Three people in front of an ancient building. Three people in front of an ancient building.
Image: A visit to the Parthenon in Greece was a highlight for Year 12 student Carmen Behrouzi.

For ancient history teacher, Chad Carey, the thrill of visiting so many ancient wonders was heightened by the fact that it was his first ever trip to Europe.

“Every day was a highlight,” Mr Carey said.

“As a teacher it (the trip) is a gift that keeps on giving. Now we’re bringing elements of the trip back to the school classroom. I’ve had to re-write the programs.

“It’s hard to let go.”

Mr Carey said the study of ancient history was important because many aspects of the ancient world still resonated today.

“The concept of ‘bread and circuses’ for example. The working-class today is still doing the heavy lifting, working so hard they can be controlled by the ruling class. The relevance is profound,” he said.

“The only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.”

A group of people in an ancient amphitheatre. A group of people in an ancient amphitheatre.
Image: Teacher Chad Carey and student Dylan Baptista were captivated by the ancient city of Pompeii.

Mr Carey was particularly captivated by Pompeii where he woke up at 5am and “walked more steps than I had in my entire life”, he said.

Pompeii was also a highlight for Year 11 student Dylan Baptista.

“To see that it’s still in the same shape as it was when the (Mount Vesuvius) volcano erupted, that was amazing,” he said.

It took the students 18 months of fundraising through Bunnings barbecues, raffles at ancient Greek nights, chocolate sales to the Liverpool community and a trivia night to secure the money needed for the trip, while the teachers paid their own way.

Students dancing in an ancient amphitheatre. Students dancing in an ancient amphitheatre.
Image: Students made the most of the ancient theatre at Delphi in Greece.
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