Students return after being stranded in Ireland

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Updated: 3/27/2013 9:13 am Published: 3/26/2013 7:20 pm

A group of Bartlesville students return home Tuesday after being stranded in Ireland for days.

The group of about 200 included members from the high school's band, choir and orchestra. The Spring Break trip to Ireland included performing in Dublin's St. Patrick's Day Parade and singing at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Most students were able to return home at scheduled, but a worker’s strike led a German Airline to cancel hundreds of flights, delaying about 30 students and chaperones.

Students say they’re excited to be home, but they’re going to miss Ireland.

“I’m probably going to miss it tomorrow.”

Abigail McKee was adamant about how much she enjoyed Ireland, but says she’s enjoying be back stateside.

“Oh my goodness, it is such a relief being back,” she began. “Ireland was so much fun, being with all tour directors and chaperones, but I’m so glad to be back home and hug my own mom and have family.”

Her mom Lynn, also excited and relieved. She says she grew concerned after getting the call her daughter would be delayed.

“I was kind of worried at first because I didn’t know the circumstances; I didn’t know if they were going to stay in the airport or get to go to the hotel,” Lyn McKee said. “I was pretty scared at first.”

Kathy Morrow, another parent, learned the news when her daughter sent a text message “saying that they weren’t coming home.”

“And I was like—surely she’s kidding,” Morrow said. “I actually really thought she was kidding.”

But it wasn’t a joke. A German airline cancelled hundreds of flights after thousands of employees went on strike.

Abigail McKee says, “We were possibly going be delayed for a day, and then it was five days.”

Donica Gallegus says she was excited to be a chaperone on the trip because she had never travelled abroad, but the five extra days ended up being more than she bargained for.

“Yes,” Gallegus started. “But it was great. It was great.”

“This gave us the opportunity to explore more Ireland,” McKee said. “I liked the extra days, so I was totally fine with that.”

They say they spent those extra five days doing more sightseeing.

“It was really neat. The people there are so friendly, they treated us really good,” Gallegus shared.

The group saw movies, went to the Titanic Music in Belfast, and even spent time on an Irish farm.

“All the kids were so great,” Gallegus said. “They did awesome; they made the most of it. They became best friends all over again.”

Five days, 4,200 miles, and two long flights later, the students safely returned to Oklahoma. McKee says she couldn’t have asked for a better ending.

“This is a great way to end senior year, just to be with my choir family and we all bonded thru those extra days that we had and it was such an amazing experience that I will never forget.”

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