This past November, 18 senior school students received exciting news that they had been given the opportunity to partake in the Spring Break service trip, in partnership with Outreach360.
Week by week, this group and three dedicated teachers (Ms. Logher, Mr. Byrka and Ms. Poole) met after school to plan for this incredible journey. To prepare to teach in Outreach 360’s Learning Centre, we taught in the Junior School and dug deeper into the meaning of education and learning.
On March 13, we drove from Vancouver to Seattle, and then flew to Newark and finally to Santiago, Dominican Republic. The final leg of the trip was a three-hour drive to Monte Cristi, a small town near Dominican Republic’s north coast. In Monte Cristi, we taught children and youth from 9am to 3pm daily, walking 35 minutes to school and back. We spent nights lesson planning, figuring out fun ways of teaching weather and emotions, coming up with catchy songs and making bingo cards. Over 10 days, we became caring, dedicated teachers!
Aside from teaching, we explored and observed the amazing culture in the small town. We noticed how free and open the environment was, how effortlessly strangers waved and wished us good morning, and how simple it was to start a pick-up baseball or soccer game with kids of all ages. We also enjoyed a dance night, a day at the beach, and a visit to the Dominican-Haitian border in Daja Bon.
On March 22, we woke at an unearthly hour to make our way to the Santiago airport. It was a bittersweet feeling because we had grown to love Monte Cristi so much. We had no idea this trip would be so fulfilling when we handed in our applications back in the fall. It was truly an experience of a lifetime, and every one of us would jump at the chance to go back.
This journey would not have been the same without Ms. Logher, Mr. Byrka and Ms. Poole. The amount of time and preparation it took to coordinate a trip of this magnitude reflects how much our teachers care about us and our experience. The memories from this trip are ones that will stay with us the rest of our lives.