Eight Middle School students opened a new chapter this year when they embarked on a week-long trip to Costa Rica with Mr. Bands and Sra. Lamoureux. Students explored Costa Rica with the purpose of understanding cultural differences, learning about Costa Rica's ecological community, communicating in Spanish, and performing meaningful social service.
One of the highlights of the excursion was a 2-day immersion in a Community Project in the Mountainous Rain Forest region of Los Santos, where Costa Rica's world famous coffee is grown. They toured coffee farms and met the people who were relying on our help to prepare for planting coffee seeds. The Costa Rican wilderness and its ability to produce coffee is under constant threat due to over-use of pesticides as well as climate change. They were able to work with Johnathan Cerda, founder of the Green Communities Project, and learned the best ways to help farmers preserve their land and engage in sustainable farming. Johnathan's mantra to "change the world, one person at a time" won him a scholarship, which resulted in his creating the Santos Project. Johnathan's work continues on a global scale where he has spoken at the United Nations and has been invited to do a TED talk. View Johnathan's UN presentation here.
In addition to this work, our St. Paul's family traveled to many places in Costa Rica, seeing all the country had to offer. Excursion highlights included: seeing a volcano, boating and viewing wildlife up-close, enjoying the Caribbean and Pacific waters, zip lining through the rainforest, off-roading through mountains, experiencing hot springs, and kayaking. Most importantly, they truly soaked in the local culture with our dedicated guides and made connections with people everywhere we went. Students that were able, used Spanish frequently to communicate, and all absorbed many new words.
What they loved most by the end of the trip was seeing bonds form amongst the band of SP brothers, as well as observing the seeds of independence and confidence that were planted in each boy by the end of the trip. The trip was simply joyous. Check out the blog here which includes more than 200 pictures as well as a daily journal from the group.