The Tornado Travelers Look Forward to Their Upcoming Trip in 2024

“I think any time we get outside the four walls of Malden High School and see what other people are doing, we learn something about what others are doing, and we also learn something about ourselves,” Principal Christopher Mastrangelo stated. 

This year excitement has built throughout the students in the Tornado Travelers Club, as their trip to Costa Rica in February break gets sooner and sooner. Shauna Campbell, Sarah Jones, and Chris Giordano, who are supervising the group this year, are also looking forward to this trip.

2 of the chaperones, Ms. Campbell on the left and Mr. Giordano on the right, standing in front of the Costa Rica posters on Boyle 4th floor.

The Tornado Travelers is a club at Malden High School, and just like it says in the name, they travel! Every year, a group of students is taken to go explore new places around the world. “The last trip was last April vacation and we went to Puerto Rico. It was great, it had a few similar activities but it’s a different country so obviously, there were some different activities as well as exploring that country. The next tour is to London and  Paris next year during April vacation, and we are still planning what the trip will be for 2026, ”Campbell stated.

“The Tornado Travelers Club has been going on as long as I’ve been here; I’ve been here 15 years, and I think it predates me. I honestly don’t know how it started; I know Ms. Campbell and Ms. Jones do a lot of work with it. They have planned and organized so many trips… I can’t remember how many. Italy, Greece, Spain, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and so many others,” Mastrangelo explained. 

The students and chaperones traveling to Costa Rica this year have been doing many things to get ready for the trip, from fundraisers to practicing hiking and kayaking. 

“Kayaking is not something everyone has done before, and since we’ll be kayaking at the base of a volcano, we can enjoy the views and what we’re doing, and not have to struggle with how to actually kayak. Same with snorkeling, we’re going to practice how to use the snorkels, so that when we’re in the water, we can enjoy what we’re looking at and not struggle with what’s happening with our mouth and our face,” Campbell explained.

Costa Rica was picked because it’s a place with a variety of different and fun things to do. This year will be the fourth time that they will be taking Malden High students there. Campbell and Jones really enjoyed the trip the last time they went, so they decided to take them again. Since it is the first international trip since they have been able to start traveling again, they wanted to go somewhere familiar and somewhere that they knew would be enjoyable for the students.

“I’ve always wanted to travel, it’s the one thing I want to do the most when I’m older and it’s going to give me some experience for the future,” Racha Oumark, a student in the Tornado Travelers Club, mentioned.

Giordano explained, “The Puerto Rico trip was my first trip, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it and had lots of really positive things about the experiences that they saw and got to be a part of. They learned lots of interesting things and formed some really strong friendships as well; there was even a prom-posal on the trip!” 

“It was really cool to see the students outside of the classroom and interacting with each other. Next school year, we’ll be hosting a trip to Paris and London; Ms. Marquez is the one leading that trip so anyone who is interested in learning more about that trip, they can go talk to Ms. Marquez,” he continued. 

Students in the club are also looking forward to seeing how this trip will benefit them and their peers. Things like learning about the culture there and going on many different adventures, the Tornado Travelers are excited to learn new things from all of these experiences. Nicholas Duggan stated, “This trip will benefit both me and my peers by allowing us to try new things in a country that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to visit and explore. By going to Costa Rica, we will be able to explore the way that another country other than the U.S. operates which will be a very enlightening experience for all of us.”

Just getting away from home and doing other things that aren’t in your daily routine can benefit people in so many ways. Seeing new places, hearing different languages, learning about other cultures and values, and meeting new people are just a few of the reasons why the Tornado Travelers encourage students to travel.

By exploring other cultures, people become more mindful and more understanding of the people around them. “I think exploring other cultures and nationalities goes hand in hand with our school. Our school is filled with so many diverse cultures and nationalities, and I think many of our students speak the native languages of some of the countries that we go to. I think we get to see this every day. Certainly from my position, I’ve learned so much about the different cultures in my role, being a white guy from America, and I think giving the students the opportunity to explore the country and the culture, particularly our students that are originally from Malden is a great opportunity,” Mastrangelo said.

This opportunity for Malden High School is rare, and it is such a great thing that the school is able to provide an experience like this for the students. As a principal, Mastrangelo is very thankful that the school is able to give students an opportunity to travel and explore new places. “So many schools have gone away from this, so many schools have gone away from trips abroad… The fact that we have been able to maintain it, sustain it, and even build it, particularly pre and post-COVID, and make it a really rich environment and part of the culture at our school is really exciting. This is a tribute to Ms. Campbell and Ms. Jones as well, they’ve been able to keep this so well-managed. ”

Since the Tornado Travelers Club began, things have improved and it has been made more accessible to students who might struggle to afford it. “I know they do a lot of the fundraising to different expenses, they advocate with the company to get scholarships, so making it available to more people and not having the cost of it a barrier, extending out the payment plans so they can pay it out over a longer period of time. I think those things have given students a better opportunity to go,”  Mastrangelo stated. 

The Tornado Travelers Club is open and welcoming anyone to join. They encourage students to join the club so that students can experience travel if they have never been able to travel before. “A lot of people come from really large families, and it can be expensive to travel so we have the club so that you will be able to plan ahead. If you’re a freshman and you want to travel at some point, you can start planning financially and logistically how to become part of a tour because some families either don’t like to travel or maybe you’re not sure yourself if you like to travel, so you want to try it, Campbell offered as advice.

“To do it with your peers is a very different experience than your family, especially as you’re all getting ready for graduation and kind of leaving home and doing things on your own, it’s like a little taste of independence while you’re still figuring things out,”  Campbell stated.

Giordano finished by stating, “People should join the Tornado Travelers Club because you can learn so much by traveling, you learn about the world, you learn about yourself, you learn about different cultures and different ways of life, and also how, despite all of those differences, there are so many similarities that you have with every individual on this earth. I always find that I learn so much when I’m traveling to new places, trying new foods, and experiencing new customs. It really enriches my life and has brought many friendships into my community and my network that I would never have had otherwise.”

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