Dominican Republic Trip Offers Students Opportunity to Serve Global Community
Dominican Republic Trip Offers Students Opportunity to Serve Global Community

Eleven students, along with chaperones Jacob Stoner '11, School communications and multimedia manager, and Sophie Gibson '12, Upper School Humanities teacher, traveled to the Dominican Republic in June as a part of an international engagement trip with a focus on service through helping to rebuild two homes of local residents.

In partnership with WorldStrides and through nonprofit Bridges to Community, the trip consisted mostly of daily home building, including creating foundation, cementing walls, painting, and attaching siding. Throughout the trip, the students reflected on the differences between life in their home country and their new surroundings.

"For four days, we were living and working in this community that is so different from our own. On a base level, students were able to see and experience a culture and living situation that was completely foreign to them," said Stoner. "They learned about the value of service, and helping others. But they also learned a lot about human connection, and that even though our situations are very different, there is a lot that is the same."

Outside of working on the houses, the group enjoyed excursions and activities such as touring Santo Domingo, going to a beach in Bani, playing local games and sports, and interacting and practicing speaking Spanish with residents.

"Countless kids came to meet our group as we were working, and continued to come back every day and help with our work, and interact with our group. Our students took the time to learn about their community and everyday life," Stoner recalled. "It was obvious that the kids just wanted to be there with us, and wanted to help us any way they could. Our house building became a complete community event. These two groups of kids have led such different lives up to this point; some of the local professional masons were the same age as many students in our group. Yet, despite the totally different upbringing, they were able to bond and connect over the many similarities they ended up having."

The trip was partially financially supported by the Wardle Family through Doug's Fund, an endowment established in 2007 to honor Doug Wardle's '08 legacy of service in Nicaragua and to help fund future trips.

View photos from the trip on the School's SmugMug.