Earthquake fails to rattle Nunavut school group, still going to Rome

When Nunavut teacher Patti Bligh first heard that a massive earthquake had struck central Italy early Monday morning, her heart sank.

When Nunavut teacher Patti Bligh first heard that a massive earthquake had struck central Italy early Monday morning, her heart sank.

Bligh and 17 of her Cambridge Bay high school students were just hours away from boarding a plane that would take them on a 10-day trip to Italy to learn more about the two world wars.

Despite the disaster, Bligh said Monday they are forging ahead with their plans.

The group is not scheduled to arrive in Rome until the end of the week, said  Bligh, and their itinerary does not include the earthquake zone.

The quake struck an area about 110 kilometres northeast of Rome, killing dozens.

The Nunavut students will explore Rome, the Colosseum and Pompeii as well as visit Second World War battlefield sites such as Ortona, Rimini and Monte Cassino.

Bligh planned the trip because her students are so far removed from the two world wars — both geographically and culturally — and yet the wars are a big part of their history course.

The students, their families and the High Arctic community of 1,400 raised about $100,000 to fund the trip.