CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It was an emotional welcome home Monday night as parents of Chicago Public high school students hugged their loved ones upon them returning from Paris for the first time.
The group was part of an exchange program at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and had arrived in Paris Friday morning.
The group had just fallen asleep after a long day of travel when they started receiving phone calls from their families back home telling them of the attacks.
“It wasn't worth it risking our lives over there,” said student Shannon Myron.
She said Friday night after the attacks, the group gathered together in one room in the hostel and stayed there for hours.
For the next 24 hours, the group was practically on lockdown and were only allowed to leave the hostel with an adult in small groups.
Parents back home, like Kelly Myron, were a nervous wreck.
“I mapped everything out, where their hostel was located and where every incident happened,” said Myron.
Melanie Smith said they didn’t actually hear the shootings or any of the attacks, but knew they were close when they heard the screaming sirens surrounding them.
“We were in district 11 and all of the terrorist attacks happened in district 10 and 11, so we were basically surrounded,” said Smith.
On Sunday, the group was allowed a small city tour, stopping for pictures outside the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.
As they left Monday, they came across another reminder of what happened as they drove to the airport.
“We saw one of the memorials sights where the restaurant shooting was, it was like 2 blocks away from the hostel,” said student Brook Bennett.
Most of the students agree they would like to visit the City of Lights again, but one mom says only if she goes with.
There was another group of CPS students in Paris, a group of 7th graders and faculty from Lincoln Park's Lincoln Elementary, and they arrived home safely over the weekend.