Students who raised money to go understand but are disappointedCruise missiles in Iraq shot down more than Baghdad's spires Wednesday. They also shot down Astoria students' hopes for travel to Germany.

A group of 16 Astoria High School students had planned to visit Waldorf for an eight-day trip that was to begin April 2. Wednesday morning, school leaders canceled the trip due to the war in Iraq.

"The main concern is safety and the unknown considering the world's situation," said Superintendent Larry McMacken.

Jane Roberts, language arts teacher and a chaperone for the trip, said teachers worried about bringing American students into another country.

"We're not sure what the terrorist repercussions will be from the war," Roberts said.

Although people involved were disappointed, the school couldn't take the risk, she said.

"We decided it was pretty much an unprecedented war and we don't know what's going to happen," Roberts said. "It probably wouldn't be a problem, but ... it's not a time to get too risky with other people's children."

Students also planned to visit Heidelberg and Southern France on day trips.

Junior Addy Rutter said she had discussed the risk with her parents.

"We knew this was a possibility and we were still willing to go," Rutter said, noting she was disappointed in the school leaders' decision.

Rutter said the flight cost is nonrefundable, although she may be able to exchange it for another flight this year.

Students paid $650 for the trip and would have stayed with host families.

"I worked at Dairy Queen for half of that money," Rutter protested. She had already exchanged some money for Euros, the currency in the European Union. A few of the chaperones, including retired math teacher Bob Landwehr, will still visit Waldorf.

"We feel it is still safe to travel," Landwehr said. "We're flying directly from Portland to Frankfurt. We know that the Frankfurt airport is very secure."

Landwehr visited Waldorf during the Persian Gulf War. "It's almost like deja vu," he said.

Students have visited Waldorf, Astoria's sister city, almost every year since 1983.

The town has between 14 and 15,000 people, but is more densely populated than Astoria. Last year, during the Regatta celebrations, six city council members and the mayor visited Astoria.

Waldorf students regularly visit Astoria, and Landwehr has visited several times as well. He and his wife usually stay with host families.

"Over the years of doing this, we've established great relationships with them."


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