Our Odyssey Begins

Our odyssey started yesterday morning when we gathered at Norfolk airport. We flew through Atlanta and Rome before touching down in Palermo, Sicily around noon local time. We gathered our bags, loaded into our bus and left for Erice. The students will put together a post with some pictures soon.

In the meantime, consider this image. It is the triskelion, the symbol of Sicily. The three legs represent the three sides of the triangular-shaped island.

The students are divided into three teams during the trip, and each day the teams compete with one another to complete the challenges for each site. This year, each team created its own logo or symbol during the days leading up to the trip. Here are the symbols from each team and a brief explanation of their meanings.


The sign of Alpha is represented by two golden swords joined at the middle by a laurel wreath to create the letter A. Each sword is spearing the sign of another group: beta or gamma. The motto states “now numquam cedamus” (we will never yield). The circle ring surrounding the outside represents the infinity of alpha!


The Beta Team seal displays a beta fish inside a magisterial tank. Embedded in the beta fish is the second letter of the Greek alphabet, the beta. The fish is also wearing a liberty cap and holding a liberty spear in its gills which symbolizes freedom and liberation. Behind the beta fish there are fasces, which are column like structures That represent strength and togetherness. Our motto: non turistae sed viatores (not tourists but travelers) defines what will be the goal of our trip: to dive fully into the rich Italian culture.

Team Gamma choose to use a giraffe as our team mascot because they stand tall and use what they have to their fullest advantage. Rather than having the giraffe wearing a liberty cap, which is common in many seals, our giraffe wears a party hat to symbolize gamma being fun-loving and free. The dotted border around the seal represents discipline and order. Additionally, the Latin words, ex nihilo ad omnia, translates to “from nothing to everything” which is our motto, stating that anyone can rise up from the ashes.