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It happened last year. An invitation arrived, one band director Jason Hackworth accepted on behalf of the CHS Marching Band: to come to Rome, Italy and march in the 2024 New Year's Day parade.

This kind of opportunity only comes along once in a lifetime. For a hardworking band of teenagers in Charlottesville, Virginia, the honor is humbling, inspiring, and something of a dream. 

Not only will we the band perform in the parade and at some other venues, but we'll have the chance to visit famous sites like the Vatican, Colosseum, and the catacombs beneath the Appian Way, as well as Charlottesville's sister city, Poggio a Caiano.


Research shows that youth who travel end up "making 12% more per year and were significantly more likely to graduate from college ..." 


WYSE Travel Confederation

Why This Trip Matters

Some of our students haven't traveled outside of Virginia, let alone the United States. For some, the mere task of getting a passport is a first. Being part of this kind of cultural arts exchange can open up all kinds of doors in both the minds and lives of our students. Italy will prepare them for the world.

This experience will expose these kids to international travel, culture, music, arts, and language, expanding their vision of the world and their part within it.  They'll visit locations and places they've only read about or seen on TV. And, most importantly, the kids will share this adventure as a community. In a few brief, intense days, they'll learn so much beyond what we can anticipate or predict.



"Teenagers who travel internationally develop the ability to see the world from multiple perspectives, recognizing that their own cultural norms are not the only valid ones. This understanding promotes empathy, tolerance, and respect for others, breaking down stereotypes and prejudice."

The Road Less Traveled 

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