Indiya Clarke ’26 is an English major from Vassalboro, Maine, and a member of the Wofford women’s basketball team. This is her reflection on the team’s trip to France.

The Wofford women’s basketball team began August with a 10-day trip to France. There were basketball scrimmages and opportunities to explore the country.

While Paris is on most bucket lists and Nice was as enjoyable as one can imagine, Normandy held the greatest educational significance to us both as Americans and as Wofford Terriers.

Our coaching staff went above and beyond to ensure that this would be the trip of a lifetime. They planned so many fun activities and adventures for us while also giving us the space and freedom to enjoy France at our own pace. Most importantly, they made sure we left Normandy with a better understanding of the events that took place there during World War II.

“I thought it was important for our players to gain a better understanding and appreciation of all the sacrifices that took place throughout the Normandy region during WWII,” says our head coach, Jimmy Garrity. “This trip definitely did that. It was a great experience and they did a fabulous job representing Wofford College.”

 We were assigned an amazing tour guide who made the onslaught of rain and wind bearable with his ability to educate and entertain. We visited some of the many cemeteries throughout Normandy dedicated to thousands of soldiers who lost their lives fighting for their countries. We had the privilege of walking across Utah Beach while receiving a better understanding of the events that took place on June 6, 1944.

While everything we learned about Utah and Omaha beach was rewarding, it was our visit to the Normandy American Cemetery that made the biggest impact on the team. With the help of Dr. John Lefebvre, professor of psychology, and Dr. Bill Allison, professor of history at Georgia Southern University, our coaching staff researched before our trip and discovered the name of a Wofford graduate who died during the war. Lt. Fred Gillespie ’42 died on D-Day while serving with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. We paid our respects while we were in Normandy.

“Fred Gillespie was our age when he went into battle in Normandy, and that really put into perspective how lucky we are and how thankful we are to be granted opportunities because of soldiers like him,” says Rachael Rose ’25, my teammate and a psychology major from Scranton, Pennsylvania. “Wofford is a very special place, and making sure we brought a little bit of Wofford to him was definitely a priority on this trip.”