Ross Upper School students’ Field Academy adventures officially draw to a close this week, but the unique experiences, memories, and friendships forged will live on forever. Students across the globe are currently returning to Long Island, and the accounts of their trips are truly inspiring.
Students in the Italy course wrapped up their studies in Agrigento at the “Valley of Temples,” where their excursions included a visit to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the largest Doric temple ever constructed.
In the Dominican Republic, students worked in Sosúa at a school associated with the DREAM Project for a cultural exchange and community service experience. Jerry Peng ’19 said it was amazing getting to know the local kids and communicating with the people in the neighborhood. “Everybody knows everybody, and they were very welcoming,” he reported.
During their final days in Zimbabwe, Ross students traveled to Bulawayo to visit Zimkids, an organization that educates orphans and provides a place to for them to play and feel safe. For the last several years, Dennis Gaboury, the organization’s founder, has visited Ross to connect his group with Ross students at both the Upper and Lower Schools, so it was rewarding to bring the connection full circle. “Zimkids was an eye-opening experience,” said Alejandra Vivas-Royet ’19. “Just the way that the kids had positive attitudes throughout the entire day in the scorching heat made me realize how grateful I should be for everything I have.”
Back in the United States, seventh and eighth graders completed their journey to Alabama, where a tour guide shared wonderful stories of author Harper Lee (known as Nelle to the residents of her hometown) and pointed out specific locations in the town square that are referenced in To Kill a Mockingbird.
The group traveling in New Mexico delivered supplies and gifts to the Taos Pueblo Day School, where they volunteered for three days. Students said it was really special to help out and see how grateful their peers were for the gifts. After a final game of catch, they moved on to experience a sweat lodge located on the famous New Buffalo Commune, which was built in 1967.
Students who spent the term on Long Island also got to engage in some new experiences. Industrious students in the “Service and Sustainability” course helped build a home with Habitat for Humanity and volunteered at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. Tali Friedman ’18 completed an independent study course at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, where she worked with marine biologists on aquaculture projects and cared for marine wildlife.
Overall, students and teachers enjoyed their incredible and life-changing journeys. The groups will share their stories with the community at the Field Academy Sharing Night on March 23. In the meantime, be sure to catch up on the final reporting of their adventures on the Field Academy blogs.