SF high school students lose $120,000 in trip money
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There is a big disappointment for a class of new graduates in San Francisco. They're out thousands of dollars and nearly missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The trip Lowell High School students looked forward to and saved for all year long is not going to happen the way they planned it.
At least 23 students at Lowell High School get to take a consolation trip to Italy, if you will, but they're still out an awful lot of money because their original tour company bailed on them.
"I've worked with this company four other times and they're amazing. I didn't expect this to be any different," said Lowell High School Italian teacher Judy Branzburg.
Branzburg had her students primed for a 17-day journey across Italy after graduation.
"We've been waiting for this trip ever since we've been freshman and started our Italian program," said Italian student Amanda Dobrov.
However, their Boston-based tour operator called The European Institute suddenly stopped communicating.
"In mid-May they just stopped answering my phone calls and emails and I was sending them daily," said Branzburg.
Then on May 17 they learned the tour company had gone bankrupt. They were out $120,000. That's $5,000 a student.
They talked to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. The California Attorney General launched an investigation, but they learned they were just out the money. Then a contact with the San Francisco Mayor's Office connected them with another tour company called WorldStrides. The CEO decided to kick in $50,000 of his own money to rescue the would-be student travelers.
"It's sad when kids are losing out on a trip when they've been looking forward to it for a long time," said Jim Hall from WorldStrides.
"We will be going to Rome Parma and Florence," said one student.
But there is much that's been cut from their itinerary, but at least they will get to Italy.
"They were looking forward to swimming off Capri, taking a gondola ride, seeing how the light plays on the water in Venice, all the things I've been teaching them about these last few years," said Branzburg.
But at least they will get to Italy. Student Michael Wasney summed it up best when he said he is very happy in Italian.
If you would like to help these students get to Italy, you can mail a check to:
Lowell Alumni Association C/O Lowell Italian Club
Mrs. Judith Branzburg
P.O. Box 320009
San Francisco, CA 94132-0009
Or you can make an online contribution at: http://www.lowellalumni.org/donate_form.shtml
Click on the donation button and for the program designation click on "Italian Program"
- Bay Area braces for coldest night of the cold snap 35 min ago
- Palo Alto man says he was well-fed in North Korea
- Ukraine sees largest anti-govt protest since 2004
- Deep freeze grips most of United States
- Paul Walker memorial in California draws thousands
- Smith leads Jets to 37-27 victory over Raiders
- Owens' Olympic gold medal sells for record $1.4M
- Salvation Army ringer sets 105-hour ring record
- Man falls asleep on flight, wakes up in empty plane 15 min ago
- Winter Spare the Air called for Sunday and Monday
- Photos: Record low temperatures freeze the Bay Area
- abcnews: Newlyweds accused in thrill-kill murder
- roundup: Homeless shelter program; Windsor kidnapping
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Monday 27 min ago
- Bay Area weather forecast for Monday
27 min ago
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos