Amanda Bonville doesn’t hesitate to sign her children up for an educational travel experience. The mother of six has sent (or plans to send!) four of her children on WorldStrides programs. In fact, her oldest daughter, Abby, has traveled with us four times! Abby’s first trip was in 2013 to Washington, D.C., and Gettysburg with her eighth grade class. She has since performed at our WorldStrides OnStage New York Heritage Festival, the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, and the Honors Performance Series at Sydney Opera House.
Amanda first learned about WorldStrides when her niece traveled to Washington, D.C., with her eighth grade social studies teacher. When Abby was old enough, Amanda signed her up for the program.
“I personally felt like it was a hands on educational experience I couldn’t provide, even if I could bring her to Washington, D.C.,” Amanda says. “The opportunity to see the Tomb of the Unknown, George Washington’s tomb… and to do so in an educational way? Those kinds of experiences only come by about once in a lifetime.”
Two of Amanda’s sons have since traveled to Washington, D.C., with their class, and a third son will travel to Washington, D.C., in the spring. She credits WorldStrides and their social studies teacher with making the program a great opportunity for her children. “Year after year, for each of my kids, the trip has been made so accessible and available. I’m so grateful.”
When Abby approached her mother about applying for the Honors Performance Series program at Carnegie Hall, Amanda didn’t hesitate to say yes. “I just knew it was something that was an experience she wouldn’t otherwise have available to her.”
Abby was accepted and Amanda traveled with her to New York City to experience her performance at Carnegie Hall. Abby returned to New York City with her performing group for the New York Heritage Music Festival and when the opportunity to apply for the Honors Performance Series at Sydney Opera House arose, Amanda again encouraged her daughter.
“I told her she could audition. It was one of those leaps of faith,” Amanda says. “She had college coming up, so I said if you really want to do this, I’ll help support you. She had an amazing experience and is still connected with some of the students she met.”
Abby starts her freshman year of college as a musical theater major this fall. Her experience performing in New York and Sydney helped her stand out on her college applications. ”The sense from her teachers and directors is that listing those on her resume, listing these select groups for international students, and knowing how many applied and how few were accepted, it would really help her stand out.”
Amanda’s children have become pros at fundraising for their respective trips. Abby collected returnables such as bottles and cans from family and friends and her son has been working with his father, a carpenter, to earn money for his trip next spring. The school also works with a local pizza restaurant that donates it proceeds for one day, a fundraiser that has become popular and successful over the years.“It receives lots of community support,” Amanda says. “Parents volunteer to help. It’s wonderful. It’s become well-known.”
Amanda’s children each have unique memories from their travels. She is grateful for the opportunities they have experienced. “I don’t like to limit my kids,” she says. “They have had educational travel opportunities that we couldn’t have provided for them on our own, not to mention the performance opportunities Abby has experienced. I’m thankful and amazed!”