Jenn Parker, a middle and high school orchestra teacher at St. Johns Public Schools in St. Johns, Michigan, has extensive student travel experience and has been traveling with ETI since 2003.
“I’ve taken my 8th grade orchestra to Chicago over 15 times, and I’ve traveled with the high school Orchestra to Orlando and New York City,” Parker said, noting that besides visiting some of the most popular tourist sites, her students also get to flex and strengthen their musical muscles. “We usually have a music clinic with a prominent educator from the area and sometimes, we also give a performance.”
Parker’s trips are always memorable, for both students and herself.
“My overall favorite highlight of the trips is seeing my students participate in new experiences, solidifying their bond as a group, and making lifelong memories,” she said.
It’s more than common for lessons to be learned while on the road, and it’s something Parker has seen her students experience first-hand.
“A great lesson for my students is that they widen their scope of the world,” she explained. “We always participate in a clinic with a talented educator, and the students learn new ways to improve on their instruments. Many also get inspired to continue on their instruments.”
When it comes to traveling with students, Parker acknowledges the amount of work that goes into planning ahead of time and the inevitable thoughts educators have about hitting bumps in the road. But, thankfully, that didn’t stop her.
“I was apprehensive to travel with my students at first because I was afraid of the things that could go wrong, and I was worried about the amount of work and responsibility it would put on me,” Parker recalled.
But from her very first trip, Parker had the help of ETI, which she says was a huge help in planning her trip’s itinerary and removing excess stress from the process.
“They organized all the details necessary for a trip, and the best part is they have great tour managers who help the trip run smoothly from the time we arrive at our destination until we leave to go home,” Parker said. “We had an awesome travel consultant who showed how capable ETI is in helping me plan and execute trips for my students. She heard my concerns and was able to reassure me by helping me through the planning process and showing me all the benefits ETI could provide through their travel assistance.”
In all of her trips, Parker has always found ETI to be very helpful, from the beginning of planning to finalizing details in the end.
“Over the years, we’ve had some unplanned or complicated situations occur while we were traveling, and every time, ETI responded in a quick manner and helped to keep the trip running smoothly,” Parker said, emphasizing how this was especially true during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had two trips scheduled to occur in the spring of 2020, and they were both unable to travel due to COVID restrictions. Despite how many trips had to be canceled during that time, ETI responded in a timely manner whenever I had a question or concern. They helped me figure out next steps with the accounts, etc.,” Parker said. “It was not an easy time for me as a director or for them as a travel company, but they did their best as a team to help me through it.”
In spring 2022, with the help of ETI, Parker was finally able to hit the road again and traveled with two different student groups to Cleveland, Ohio.
“It was so great to make it back to traveling again!”