MAC Middle Students Return from Belize with New Perspectives
Our MAC Middle students and teachers returned with newfound perspectives shaped by their 10-day trip to Belize. When asked about their experience, students used words like “life changing,” “awesome,” and “healthy.” One student cited how the experience made her feel “more confident.” It’s not a stretch to see how these words shake out of the rich tapestry of experiences they had that ranged from challenging and rewarding manual labor, exploration of local culture and history, and close interaction with nature. They sweat through demanding physical work when they built classrooms at the Howard Smith Nazarene Primary School. There, they dug trenches, poured concrete and twisted rebar, leaving them exhausted but proud in being able to create something useful for the local community of learners. (Click here to see them in action!) It was a powerful example in giving back to a community that ultimately gave something very valuable to them. They learned about the local culture and history through lessons in drumming and dance, a visit to the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich, and many delicious meals featuring the flavors of Belize. They also gained a powerful appreciation for the local communities through many authentic moments of connection with the Belizean people. They had the chance to be close to nature, through experiences that included snorkeling in protected coral reef systems, learning about native species at wildlife and butterfly sanctuaries, swimming in clear blue waters, and simply just feeling the breeze while reflecting at the end of each busy day. MAC Middle Program Director, Alicia FaJohn, summarized the experience by sharing, “The middle school trip to Belize was magical. We watched each child grow into their leadership and purpose right before our very eyes. We are so lucky to have engaged in this experience in order to further develop our work to support students in understanding both their inner and outer journey in life, we can't wait to go back!” We hope that this trip was just one of many experiences that will continue to shape our students’ curiosity about the world and their place in it.
- Middle School