Students explore Central America
New London High School students take overseas field trip
By Ellen Celske
From March 16-24, 27 students and five staff members traveled to Guatemala and Belize. While there, the students observed locals preparing “alfombras” (intricately designed, colored saw-dust rugs) and parade floats for Easter celebrations. They commented on the number and proximity of the churches. They saw the devastation that remains from the 1973 earthquake in Antigua.
“It was a very successful trip,” Spanish teacher Michelle Huebner said. “Students really seemed to benefit from this cultural experience and they were very open minded. It was great to see their Spanish skills in action.”
They gained an appreciation for the comforts we take for granted in the U.S. like drinking water, schools with electricity, minimum wage jobs, unlimited resources, paved roads and flushing toilet paper.
It was an eye opening experience for students when they heard at the coffee plantation that workers only earn dollars a day to hand pick or cross-breed plants and that the after-school program we visited struggles to keep the electricity on for the students.
“I gained an appreciation for little things we often forget to be thankful for such as drinkable water, electricity and good plumbing systems,” junior Amanda Amador said. “Visiting the schools was such an eye-opener to how fortunate we are because they didn’t have much and were very thankful for the things that we donated to them.”
Trip highlights included: interacting with local students learning English, playing soccer and playground games with students at two different schools, roasting marshmallows over the hot lava rocks atop Pacaya Volcano, exploring the underground water system of the Mayans, viewing the wildlife of the tropical rain forest while discovering the Mayan ruins of Tikal and learning to salsa dance with locals.
“This trip was an experience that I will never forget,” junior Skyler Palacios said. “I would go back to these countries in a heartbeat. I had a such a great time with awesome individuals.”
This is a trip that has changed the way our students view the world. Thanks to the support of the school district and community, our students had the opportunity to put their Spanish skills to the test and gain an appreciation for life outside the United States.
“It was an amazing trip,” junior Matt Luebeck said. “Learning the different cultures and lifestyles in not one, but two different countries was amazing. Learning about the active Pacayo Volcano and the Mayan temples in Tikal were fascinating. I would definitely recommend for anyone that plans on taking Spanish in the future here at New London High School to go on the future trips to other countries.”