On the first day of vacation, three planes left Logan Airport with Belmont Hill groups on them. One plane was headed to San Francisco for the annual community service trip, another south of the United States to French-speaking Guadeloupe, and a third to Beijing to experience China firsthand.
On the service trip, students spent two days in San Francisco sightseeing the abundance of tourist attractions, such as Alcatraz Island’s prison and the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. They then headed off to the woods for the rest of the trip, where they helped a Stanislaus National Forest. Because this part of California had been devastated by forest fires a year earlier, students and faculty chaperones planted new trees, rebuilt paths, and rebuilt a new facility for the national park.
In the Caribbean, French students explored the beautiful landscape of the island. Additionally, students learned the diverse culture of the island. They cooked food with the locals and even attended classes at a nearby high school.
Finally, across the world, students visited Beijing and Xi’an. In both places, students had the chance to speak with locals in Chinese, eat authentic Chinese food, and observe the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square.
As each trip returned one-by-one, stories would be told throughout the next week about memorable experiences at each places. As Jack Hanna once said: “The world is the true classroom. The most rewarding and important type of learning is through experience, seeing something with our own eyes.”