Monday, May 14, 2012

8th Grade Trip to Puerto Rico

Chris Ros, our Assistant Head of the Middle School, blogged during the 8th graders recent trip to Puerto Rico. Here are some excerpts.

-The bubble within which I live may not be as small as they come, but there is still a bubble, and while it is not necessary to burst it, I do feel it necessary in today’s global climate to unzip the bubble at least some of the time and explore what else is out there. This trip is doing exactly that for all of us, helping to point out the importance of other languages, cultures, and ways of doing things. The fun and excitement of all that we are doing is eye-opening for many of the kids and I am having a blast watching them navigate through this new space. I have seen many of them grow up nearly every day since the second grade, and while I always feel I/we could do more, I am proud of these kids both with how they are handling themselves on this trip and in general.

-We then had some time to do some shopping in the square before setting off for the K-6 school in Guanica. The kids absolutely loved their time with the kids. They got to eat lunch with them and then have recess where a very competitive game of basketball broke out. A modified volleyball game was also being played. Then the kids were broken into groups and accompanied some of the students to their classes. So, if you combine our entire group, they actually did attend nearly one full day of class. Some went to a History class where they learned about the 78 cities of Puerto Rico, and others went to a Spanish class to help (or be helped). About 6 other of our students went to an English class where they worked with individual students on their lessons for the day and a final group went to an Art class where the activity for the day was dancing. Here the Spanish students demonstrated the dance for our kids and then they taught them, so by the end of the class, everyone was dancing.

-The day was not over as we then headed to the bioluminescent bay. When you first get in to the bay you wonder, “what is all the talk about this bioluminescence thing? I don’t see anything!” Well, once it was dark enough and the kids started swimming in the bay and agitating the water (which is what you have to do to see the bioluminescence), the magic began and magical it was. Brilliant tiny “lights” sparkled down their arms and streaks of light trailed every movement you made. You truly felt like you were in some fantasy land or a magical mermaid cove. It is dark and deep and taking the plunge can be a little unnerving, but everyone did it and were thankful that they did.

-Well, we have come to the day we all knew would arrive too soon. It is funny, though…it feels as if we have been here for a couple of weeks and at the same time like we just arrived yesterday. We have done so much in so little time and I am really pleased with how everything has gone. All of the kids stepped out of their comfort zones, tried new things, and made new friends. Now the real challenge begins – processing our experiences and making them a positive part of our lives for the long-term. I struggle with this all the time as it is very easy to slip back into our comfortable ways, but each of us has a responsibility to take at least some of the aspects of our experiences and have them help to shape our world and the world of those around us for the better.

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