RCHS students visit Madrid


Rensselaer Central students, parents and chaperones made a stop in Madrid during the 2019 trip to Europe.

RENSSELAER — Rensselaer Central Spanish teacher Jan Benner is preparing to make her 14th international trip in 2021.

“The best thing about it is the kids,” said Benner, who took her first Europe trip as a teacher at North Posey High School in Poseyville. “You feel like like a kid again every time, but it’s awesome to see their excitement about it as well.”

To help fund the next trip, which is set for spring break of 2021 and includes stops in Spain and France, the students will coduct a chicken noodle fundraiser from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, in the RCHS cafeteria.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $8 per person, with tickets for children age 7 and younger at $5. Carry-outs will be available.

If you bought a ticket in advance, do not forget to bring it to the dinner, Benner said.

The food is being prepared by Sue Cook. The menu includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls (donated by White Castle), dessert and water (donated by Premium Waters of Kentland).

Strack & Van Til in Rensselaer also donated a gift card that was used to help buy food for the dinner. ConAgra, National Gypsum Rensselaer presented donations as well.

“We really appreciate the community support we have received already,” Benner said.

The meal will conclude just in time for the boys’ varsity basketball game with Kouts at Joe Burvan Gymnasium that night.

“It’s Mr. Bomber night, too, so we’re hoping to get a nice crowd,” Benner said. “We sent Kouts a flyer about the dinner also, so maybe we’ll get a few more people to come and eat.”

A total of 39 people have signed up for the 2021 trip, including 21 students, 14 parents and four chaperones, Benner said.

“Sometimes I’ve seen it go up to the low 40s,” she said of next year’s group. “The last time, we had 24 go on the trip.”

The 2019 trip included stops in Segovia and Toledo. Next year’s 10-day trip will make similar stops with a couple of new locations thrown in for variety.

Benner said she does have several students who go a second time.

“With the amount of times we’ve gone, it’s nice to have something different each time,” Benner said.

The group will fly out of Chicago on the Thursday before the start of spring break of 2021, with a return scheduled for Saturday of the following week.

Their first stop is Paris, with visits to Biarritz, Burgos and finally Madrid. They will cross the Pyrenees Mountains, which forms a natural border between France and Spain.

Benner said the trip is coordinated by WorldStrides, which helps set up sightseeing tours and guided excursions.

“We get a lot of compliments from the tour company on how well behaved our students are,” Benner said. “The kids are great. They stick with us. They abide by the rules.

“You have to be really, really organized on a trip like this. You learn as you go what you want and what you don’t want.”