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Student Travel: NCS seniors share Belize with community

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Here is a fun article written by a group of students that recently joined us on an educational trip to Belize.  Students were from the senior class of Newcomb Central School in New York.  

Each year we host numerous educational groups, working closely with middle school, high school and university educators to put together itineraries that meet their travel and learning objectives.  We actively support student travel, and recently attended the annual conference for the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) in Toronto - a great forum for connecting with trip organizers and learning about trends and best practises.  Our mantra is to create life-changing travel experiences for youth!

Our team firmly believes that adventure and learning can go hand in hand…and what better way to learn then to explore and experience the reefs, rainforest and cultural mosaic that make Belize the special place it is!  

Here is the article which ran July 14, 2014 on the Denton Publications website.

NCS seniors share Belize with community

NEWCOMB — Students of the Newcomb senior class arrived in Belize in mid April to no plumbing, electricity or technological amenities.

Annually the graduating class is afforded the opportunity to take a trip continentally or internationally that correlates with their Nations Of The World course.

Students fund raise all four high school years to earn the monetary means for their trip, with help in the form of a stipend from the school board. This year’s trip, to Billy Hawk Caye, Belize, was spearheaded by teacher Autumn Goerner. Upon their return, the students chose to present their trip experiences with the community that supported them.

On June 21 the community was invited to attend as the seniors presented their trip video, a compilation of their experiences. Each student picked a topic to cover while in Belize for their video, interviewing locals, learning history and speaking with island professionals.
Rebecca Marra chose the topic of native animals in Belize. Marra visited the Belize zoo where she photographed the baboon sanctuary.

"The students cleaned up the bird exhibit at the zoo as part of their community service project,” said Goerner.

Peyton Gould chose to explore the topic of cave systems in the region by going on a guided tour of the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves.

“In the caves we learned about the traditions of Mayan sacrifice. It was spiritual,” said Gould.

Aaron Deloria used his time on the island to compile a project regarding the area in which they were staying.

“The island (Billy Hawk) has 10 guest rooms and composting toilets,” said DeLoria. “Rain water tanks are the only running water source.”

Alex Ruzback explored fishing off the shores of Billy Hawk.

“The family that we stayed with on the island were commercial fisherman,” said Ruzback. “Looking back I should have probably looked for a better source of information.”

The video portrayed Ruzback speaking with a native youth about 11 years of age.

The final project was about the Garifuna people of Belize. The Garifuna as described by Caitlyn Yandon are descendants of Carib, Arawak and West African people. Known particularly for their dancing and tribal song the Garifuna are multi-lingual speaking Spanish and also the Igñeri dialect that is a combination of Arahuaco, French, Swahili, and Bantu.

On their trip the students also participated in snorkeling and learning about the native aquatic life as well as touring the Smithsonian research station on the island. They were also able to explore island culture.

“It was very sad to see the poverty when driving around the main land,” said Marra. “I expected it to be very 1-800-beaches and that wasn’t the case.”

Having no internet, television, I-phones or computers was a culture shock to the students.

“They didn’t have any of this, but they still had fun,” said Goemer. “I remember in the evenings being in my room and hearing them laugh and talk.”