Abington Takes on DR

Successful Student Service Trip to the Dominican Republic

Abington High School travelers standing in front of Conuco Farm where they learned about Dominican farming systems and coffee. Juniors: Grace O’Donnell, Kathryn Sage, Olivia Litzenburg, Ailey Riddick, Manda Riddick, Corin Mahan, Kayli Tobin, Trinity O’Connor, Emmalee Ezzell, Julie Warsheski, Hannah Liebke, Mikayla Littman Seniors: Emily Duchaney, Sophie Reardon, Hanna Thurburg, Maddie Contrino, Amanda Nguyen, Shannon Snyder, Megan Reid, Jordyn Needle, Mike Broomstein Teachers: Mrs. Peck, Mr. Campbell, and Ms. Reardon

Madison Contrino, Contributor

Twenty one Abington High School students, myself included, recently participated in one of the Global Education opportunities offered at the high school. We traveled to the beautiful country of the Dominican Republic during February vacation week. We left on Thursday, Feb. 14 and returned to Abington the following Thursday, February 21.

The leaders of this trip were Mrs. Peck, who is a tutor at AHS and the Class of 2020’s advisor, Ms. Reardon, a coach and paraprofessional at the high school, and Mr. Campbell from the middle school. Mrs. Peck said, “This was Abington High School’s first service trip. I was impressed at how all the students embraced the projects given and how hard they all worked together to complete them.” Even though this trip was no ordinary vacation, it was still a memorable adventure. While there, most days consisted of cleaning up trash, planting, painting, and learning about the culture. Mrs. Peck was “fascinated by the way [the students] took in the culture of the Dominican Republic.”

Seeing how different the Dominican community is compared to ours here in Massachusetts made most of us more appreciative for what we have. “Some streets didn’t have power and we take it for granted sometimes by leaving lights on at home,” Hannah Liebke, a student in the junior class, said.

During our time in the DR, we encountered trash up and down the streets and drying clothes outside of their homes. We felt the need to put 100% of our effort into helping better their living environment. Some of the tasks we did were helping plant vegetables they can later eat, picking up trash so their surroundings can be a little less contaminated, and reusing that trash which would help them in their future living environment.

“I liked the bench project we did at the Mariposa Foundation because it was a great idea and it used a bunch of bottles that would’ve been on the street and [from them] a brand new bench was made” said Michael Broomstein, a senior at AHS.

The trip was not all work though. We were able to go white water rafting, surfing and having some beach time. This group of students and teachers came together and not only made people’s lives better, but made new friendships along the way. “I’d say the most memorable thing about the people of the Dominican Republic was their energy. Everyone was friendly and very relaxed. I felt like I was living in a Bob Marley song. It was awesome,” Ms. Reardon, one of the trip leaders, said.

If anyone ever has the opportunity to take up on a wonderful trip like this one, take it. Mrs. Peck believes that students who participated in this service trip “will be affected by this trip for many years to come!” This is true, because we [students] noticed how fortunate our country is and learned to adapt to our new surroundings where we had limited resources. We also learned to work together with others and communicate with new people.