Urban Students Discover Their Roots on the Yucatan Peninsula
A recent winter break afforded me the most amazing opportunity to chaperone a middle school excursion to the Yucantan Peninsula. Each year, approximately 25 extra deserving students are rewarded with an all expense-paid trip to an educational and, sometimes, exotic locale.
M.S. 136, also known as Charles O'Dewey Middle School, is located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. My husband, principal, along with his trusted staff, have worked really hard throughout the years to create a comfortable environment, rich in education and innovation.
Three jam-packed days were spent traveling to and touring famous sights like the ruins and pyramids of Chichen Itza, Tulum and Kabo Maya. As we visited and ate lunch in an authentic Mayan village, zip-lined, rappeled, and swam in a cavern, we absorbed the country's history, culture and a bit of the language, too.
One of the highlights of the trip - an indelible memory - was our visit to a private school named Colegio Boston. The reception we received was far beyond our wildest dreams. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, and it was pure delight to interact with the children of this school in Cancun. There was singing, dancing, a marching band and, a personal favorite, confetti (back story for another time) that fell from the skies! Friendly games of basketball and soccer between the students, an exchange of jerseys, delicious refreshments, and handmade gifts forged an immediate bond. There's even been talk of their school visiting ours!
Trips like this one are life-altering for each and everyone of us. Especially when we don't have everything we need or want at our fingertips, travel opens our eyes to new possibilites. There's an entire world out there that is not always apparent to those of us born into humble beginnings. Unique circumstances may, easily, weigh us down but, traveling the world lifts those burdens, if only for a while, and gives us fresh perspective.
The spirit soars; dreams abound. Education is key.