Local students learn global lessons in trip to Guatemala and Belize

Eleven students and two chaperones from The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison embraced a new culture, language and way of life during a two-week service learning trip to Guatemala and Belize in July.




These trips very much reflect our mission of global learning, said Head of School Andrew Webster, who accompanied 16 students on the schools first service learning trip to Peru in 2012. Wardlaw-Hartridge has worked in tandem with the World Leadership School on all of its service learning trips.




Students on the trip to Guatemala and Belize ranged from rising freshmen to recently graduated seniors. Chaperones Tanda Tucker of Bernardsville and Ryan Oliveira of Middletown were impressed with the teamwork and maturity of the students.




Jordan Borst-Ortiz of Colonia, Melissa Calderon of North Plainfield, Cecily DAmore of Scotch Plains, Austin Guo of Edison, Sarah Hoffman of Cranford, Kelly Lawrence of Scotch Plains, Sanjana Nalla of Edison, Mia Reyes of Piscataway, Jordan Rose of Watchung, Simu Singh of Monroe and Andrea Tobar of South Plainfield learned more about the world, themselves and each other during the two-week trip.




Their work in Guatemala included building a walkway and gate and painting steps and the gate at a school in the village of Las Vinas. They also planted trees in a local park and provided waste containers with the Wardlaw-Hartridge logo to give their school a presence in the community.




The students took advantage of more bonding and leadership opportunities during their time in Belize. They embarked on wildlife hikes and a trek during which they learned how the Mayans used the jungle as their pharmacy. There were beautiful landscapes, physical challenges and unfamiliar animals encountered on many of these trips. The students stepped out of their comfort zone many times to overcome obstacles and fears.




The trip was very educational, fun and a phenomenal experience for me and others, Kelly Lawrence said. The students bonded and formed a connection with their homestay families. When they werent working, they played soccer, basketball and other games with the children in the village. There were several tearful farewells when the students departed.

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