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Monarchs Taking Flight this Summer!

Monarchs Taking Flight this Summer!

As the school year comes to a close and summer is arriving, a small group of Mercy girls prepare to take flight in June! Every other year Mercy students and parents have the opportunity to join Mrs.Vankat and various teachers on a summer trip abroad; these extravagant trips are about two weeks in the beginning of June. In the past Mercy girls have had the privilege to go to countries like Greece and Italy, which was the most recent summer trip, and this year’s trip is to Spain and Portugal. Each of these action-packed trips requires a lot of planning, thankfully Mercy is assisted in this planning process by the help of EF Educational Tours.

When asked about the destination selection, Mrs. Vankat said, “So, we just kind of do a little dreaming and then we pick a spot and the next trip honestly is gonna be something I wanted to do for a while.”

About two years prior to the trip, there are sign up opportunities and informational meetings to figure out who will be attending the next summer trip, parents of students are also invited to go. Once the list of attendees is crafted, every few months there are meetings revealing information like: what to pack, hotel room and touring group arrangements, and deciding on group t-shirt designs. This year’s shirt was designed by junior Cate Krause, and features the skylines of Barcelona and Lisbon with a plane flying across.

Throughout the year, Mrs.Vankat keeps a countdown in her classroom leading up to departure, and now during finals week there are less than 20 days left. At the last meeting on the 15th of May, the girls and their parents brought in various dishes native to Spain and Portugal and students played “travel Olympics” where they competed in games based on the various challenges of traveling abroad.

Earlier in the year attendees had the opportunity to select different extra excursions like hiking to explore the rock of Gibraltar and hang out with monkeys or flamenco dancing and many more. Besides the extra excursions, there are many other activities built into every day of the trip.

Regarding the daily plans, Mrs. Vankat stated, “We’ll get to do a lot of food tasting …We’ll get to see a lot of important sites, some important churches and castles…This is a lot of exploring and just seeing new things.”

These 16 days promise to be action-packed, with LOTS of walking and some free time to visit plenty of beaches or small shops. Some excited juniors have also been discussing different foods to try while abroad like the “Triple Chicken Mayo” hamburger from McDonalds and the “Kit Kat Chocadilla” from Taco Bell. There will be so many exciting activities, sites to see, food to eat, and things to do in Spain and Portugal.

Mrs.Vankat shared one of her favorite memories from her trips through Mercy, “I love getting to see the look on everyone’s faces when we get to see something really incredible. I personally like to see new things, but one of my favorite things honestly is just sitting in the town square and just watch people. That’s pretty cool.”

With only a couple of weeks before departure, everyone is finishing up their fun summer shopping with Instagram worthy outfits. Those not attending are looking forward to the expedition next year, “The European Carousel”. In the summer of 2026, Mercy girls will be traveling overseas, making pit stops all around Europe. Their adventure starting in Amsterdam includes a tour of the Anne Frank house. In Germany they will visit Heidelberg and Munich. Then to Venice, Italy and Austria. Next is Lucerne, Switzerland, then a stop in Paris and Burgundy, France. Finally the trip wraps in London and Scotland.

Mrs. Vankat said, “So, it’s kind of they described it as a sort of taste tester and not a full meal but we’ll get to kind of get a little bit of all these different countries.”

Good luck to everyone on the rest of your finals. Keep an eye out for updates on the trip and everyone have a safe and fun summer!


Maura Williams
Junior at Mercy High School.
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