Local girl takes in bit of the Irish

History student Gonnella uses class to travel

Rachel Gonnella got a chance to study abroad this summer in Ireland through a course at Central Texas A&MKilleen. Rachel Gonnella got a chance to study abroad this summer in Ireland through a course at Central Texas A&MKilleen. How would you like to go to Ireland for two weeks? And how would you like for someone else to pay the airfare and motel expense?

This was the exact opportunity college student Rachel Gonnella of Rockdale took advantage of recently.

A junior at Central Texas A&M in Killeen, Rachel is majoring in education with a history minor. A class was offered this summer dealing with the history of terrorism, especially in Ireland.

To bring authenticity to the class, it was held in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Needing a political science credit, Gonnella was interested in the course.

The problem she faced was that she could not afford to pay the tuition, airfare and motel expense for the two weeks. Gonnella prayed for a way to go and “left it in God’s hands.”

As time drew near for the class to take place, there were four spaces not filled. The school offered to pay airfare and motel expense for any student filling one of the empty places.

Gonnella applied, and to her disappointment, was told that she was the fifth student in line, just one out of going. She was disappointed but remained hopeful.

With two weeks to departure, her school counselor called and told Gonnella that one student was forced to withdraw and asked if she still wanted to go. She speedily accepted.

One class was scheduled each day. Some of the lectures featured people who had experienced first hand the effects of terrorism. Each lecture took place at the site of a terrorist act.

There was also time for guided tours and free time to explore the Irish towns and countryside.

One night Gonnella came upon a group of street musicians. When they found out that she played viola and violin, they handed her a fiddle and asked for a tune.

Not knowing any Irish fiddle tunes, Gonnella played a violin piece by Beethoven to the delight of all gathered.

She returned to America with a lifetime of memories and an appreciation both for other countries and the advantages of growing up in America.

Gonnella is the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. David E. Gonnella of Rockdale.

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2012-08-16 digital edition

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