Photo by French teacher Mary Harms

Members of the French club traveled to France during the summer shortly following the terrorist attack in the city of Nice that killed 85 people.

The attack was perpetrated by 31-year-old Tunisian French resident Mohamed Lahoujel-Bouhlel on Bastille Day at The Promenade des Anglais. He drove a white 19-ton Renault Midlum cargo into a large group of people killing 85 and injuring 434.

“I was horrified for the people who were killed and their families,” said Mary Harms, French club sponsor. “But I know that when you live in fear you let the terrorists win, and the parents trusted me enough to take their children with me to France.”

The group received word of the attack at JFK airport in New York while waiting to board the plane to France. Upon arriving, they went to Arles, France where they saw the Roman ruins, arena, bathhouse and aqueduct. The group then made the decision to go ahead and go to Nice.

“Most tourist attractions in France are heavily guarded,” Harms said, explaining her reasoning behind the decision. “And also because I don’t live my life in fear.”

The attack caused a change in itinerary, but the groups was safe the entire trip, the change meant the group went to Cannes, and from there they went to Eze to visit the perfumery.

Senior Jena’e Gaston went on the trip after Harms, her French teacher, told her it would be a good idea for her to go on the trip. Gaston described being confused after learning about the attack.

“I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do about it,” Gaston said. “But I called mom to see if she was OK with me going on the trip, and she was.”

She said everything else “was pretty normal,” with the exception of Nice. The group was not allowed to go near much of that area because of the incident.

“Nobody really looked devastated,” Gaston said, describing a small glimpse she caught of the city. “But they did block off roads where the incident happened.”

While the incident was a tragedy, the group still managed to have a great time and enjoy themselves while in France.

“We had fun. Of course, when we were first on the bus, we gave our condolences to people who were at the attack or who had somehow been affected,” Gaston said.

English teacher Nicole Dyer accompanied the group on the trip and described her initial reaction to learning about the attack.

“At first, I didn’t realize it was a terrorist attack, I thought it was a freak accident,” Dyer said. “It wasn’t until people decided not to board the plane that I realized it was a terrorist attack. But the pilot assured us that we were safe and there was no reason to worry.”

Despite this being her first trip overseas, Dyer still recommends people travel abroad, in light of her experience.

“I would recommend people travel abroad because so much of who we are comes from other nations and traveling abroad is a good learning experience,” she explained.

Ruben Diaz Jr.

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