Field Academy: Adventures, Service Continue Across the Globe

Harper-Lee From Long Island to exotic historical sites around the world, students are enjoying amazing adventures and learning about different cultures and people. When they have time (and Internet connectivity), they are sharing photos and accounts of their diverse experiences, so check out the Field Academy blogs for a deeper look at their journeys!

This week, seventh and eighth graders embarked on two domestic trips. So far, students in the “Red State, Blue State, Harper Lee!” course have explored historical sites in Manhattan; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Roanoke, Virginia, along the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Their destination is Monroeville, Alabama, Lee’s hometown.


In the course “South by Southwest in Taos, New Mexico,” students are studying the Southwest Native American culture and will visit ancient ruins, hike the famous Chaco Canyon region, work with Native American elementary school children, and visit Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America.


Their schoolmates abroad have packed a wealth of cultural experiences into their first week. In Cuba, they explored Havana, visiting the Muraleando Community Project, the Nicolas Guillen Community Project, and Revolution Square. At the projects, they danced and painted with children and artists and then enjoyed the cuisine in new privately owned restaurants.


From India, Denise Garcia ’16 wrote that the country is one of the most beautiful places she has ever photographed, with a rich mix of culture, people, architecture, and lifestyles, adding, “India, like most places bound by tradition, is a canvas of beauty and flaws.” The group’s experiences have been diverse, from watching the sunrise at the top of a mountain while drinking chai tea with monks to witnessing firsthand “the harsh role of women in an extremely patriarchal society.”


Students in the “Service and Culture in the Dominican Republic” course have explored Santo Domingo and are volunteering at La Escuela Ambiental (environmental school), clearing trails, planting, and painting benches and murals on entryways. Students and teachers held a dance party for the group to welcome the class and thank them for their service.


Students studying in the “Southern Italy: Uncovering the Secrets of Ancient Civilizations” course have explored Rome, Pompeii, and Mt. Etna, and are currently in Pietraperzia, Sicily, working with archaeologists on site in an ancient cave that was used in the Greek Archaic period for sacrifices and adorations.


In Harare, Zimbabwe, students working with Hoops 4 Hope kicked things off at the Glen View Community Center, where they first repaired a pothole-riddled basketball court, then headed to Mabuvuku to meet up with a group of children for games and laughter. Teacher Hailey London shared that watching the transformation that students have undergone is powerfully rewarding. “What Hoops 4 Hope does daily is truly heroes’ work,” she said. “I am humbly blessed to have the honor to be here with them and the Ross students.”


Back in New York, the “Art and Activism” group had a busy first week. Students began by researching a number of social issues important to them. They then engaged in silk screening workshops and made “zines” with instructors and guest artist David Slater. They also had a number of sessions drawing models at Ross, the Southampton Cultural Center, and Living Gallery in Bushwick. On a trip to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, students were taken on a tour of community murals guided by artist Susan Bachemin.


Elsewhere on campus and Long Island, students in other courses volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a family in need, learned CPR, and studied the Japanese language and China’s “tea culture.” The adventures continue through March 11, so stay tuned for another update next week.