Twice-Told Tale

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Twice-Told Tale

Twice-Told Tale

Going Beyond the Typical Field Trip

Alyssa Wiboon
(Above) La Guaria has a large outside pavillion where students could participate in fun games and activities. Allison Raymond, grade 12, enjoyed playing basketball with the student she was paired with. She comments on her experience at the school by saying, “I really loved getting to see the impact we made right in front of us. Seeing the joy on the kids’ faces made me so excited to start fundraising so we could give these kids a better education.”

Over Winter Break, a group of Lake Highland AP Human Geography and AP Environmental Science students embarked on a week-long field trip to Costa Rica to explore the unique environment and culture that the happiest country in the world has to offer. Mr. Andrew Prazeres and Mrs. Gloria Boisvert spent seven months prior to the start of school planning and organizing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for their students with Education First, an international education company that specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs, and cultural exchange. Mr. Prazeres explains, “This adventure was not just about exploring the lush landscapes of Costa Rica through activities such as whitewater rafting, ziplining, and kayaking; it was a deep dive into a reality far removed from their own.” 

A highlight for many students was engaging in a service project at Escuela La Guaria, a local kindergarten through sixth-grade school in the rural Arenal region of Costa Rica. It is named after Costa Rica’s national flower: Guaria Morada. Mr. Prazeres said, “Students encountered firsthand the stark contrasts and challenges faced by communities, sparking a profound reflection on their own lives.” The experience prompted students to reflect deeply, with many acknowledging just how privileged they are and learning that, “Happiness doesn’t require material abundance,” as noted by Mr. Prazeres. As they engaged in activities designed to explore both the world and themselves, students came out of the trip with a whole new perspective. As much as this immersive field trip provided a unique opportunity to bridge classroom learning with real-world experiences, building raw, human connections with the kids at Escuela La Guaria is what the students will remember forever. Sharing a collective desire to make a difference and take action, a group of students and chaperones came together after the trip to organize and plan ways to make this an ongoing service project. Be on the lookout for ways that you can contribute to this important cause!

(Above) Many students spent time with the kids at La Guaria making crafts and drawings. Allison Rench, grade 12, and Mrs. Crystal Raphael, Director of DEI, enjoyed creating cards and relaxing after an intense game of tag. Students could take home their drawings as a souvenir, so they would have a reminder of this incredible experience. The smiles around the room were infectious, as students created bonds they didn’t know they could make. (Mrs. Gloria Boisvert)
(Above) The first thing that students did after entering the school was get to know the students at La Guaria. As it was many of the kids’ first day of school, they were nervous to introduce themselves. Impressively, some of the kids were able to introduce themselves in English. In return, Lake Highland students tried to harness their Spanish skills and introduce themselves in Spanish. This helped establish a bond with the students at La Guaria before getting to play with them. (Mrs. Gloria Boisvert)
(Above) La Guaria only has two classrooms, and students are split based on their grade level. There’s only one teacher that teaches all seven grades, Mr. Alexander Porras Ramirez, who is also the school’s principal. Even though he has some assistance throughout the day, a lot of the school responsibilities fall on his shoulders. There are few textbooks for instruction, as the curriculum is taught using scraps of incomplete textbooks. Neither of the classrooms have air conditioning, so fans are used instead. (Alyssa Wiboon)
(Above) Before arriving at the school, students were grouped into pairs of two and given $20 to spend on school supplies, toiletries, toys, food, and/or drinks, at a nearby grocery store. Many students went above the budget and tried to help out as much as they could out of pocket. Some of the items that were purchased included notebooks, soccer balls, soap, cookies, juice boxes, and markers. All of the items bought were generously donated to the school for the kids and the teachers. (Alyssa Wiboon)
(Above) While spending time with my paired student, I had the opportunity to teach her basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with flashcards that they had at the school. Even though the language barrier was a challenge, we were able to get an understanding of what the other person was saying. By the end of the visit, I was taught some Spanish, and I was able to teach her some English. This was an experience that truly touched my heart. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. (Alyssa Wiboon)
(Above) Visiting La Guaria was my favorite part of the whole field trip. (Alyssa Wiboon)
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About the Contributor
Alyssa Wiboon
Alyssa Wiboon, Director of Media
Alyssa Wiboon, grade 11, is the Director of Media of Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale, and Co-Editor of the Upper School literary magazine By Any Other Name, both nationally recognized by the American Scholastic Press Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. Alyssa is also the Co-President of her school’s club, Paws for a Cause, where she helps spread awareness for animals within local Orlando shelters. Outside of school, she enjoys Irish dancing, going to the beach, reading, and watching movies in her free time. With well over 100 service hours, Alyssa prioritizes helping local communities in any way she can, whether it be at her church or nearby food banks. In the future, she dreams of traveling around the world and creating her own blog, pursuing her love for writing, and being creative.

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