Tag Archives: spring break

France Service Trip

Ben Dorph ’18

Although tired from traveling on Friday, Saturday was a very busy, but fun day. I awoke early (about 8:00 a.m.) to go to Strasbourg with both of my French “correspondantes.” I took a quick shower and ate a breakfast of croissants and orange juice. Then we were off. Léa’s father drove us to the train station, where I met my other French “correspondante.” I was very impressed with the French trains, as in the US they are loud and slow, but in France they are fast and almost completely quiet.  We got off the train to wait for another that would take us to Strasbourg.  While there I met up with Julia, which made conversing in French substantially easier as we could discuss the proper way to say complex things.  When we arrived at Strasbourg we met up with the other groups.  The highlight of Saturday was seeing the Strasbourg cathedral as it was truly an incredible sight.  Then we split up and returned home.  Upon returning Léa told me that in France they have “Grandmother’s Day” which is just Mother’s Day, but for grandmothers. I met Léa’s brother and grandparents and had dinner with them.  The next day I was allowed to sleep late. When I woke up I had lunch with my family as I had slept through breakfast.  Then we all went to a mountain to see the view. It was very cold and was snowing with strong winds.  I was very happy that I had gloves and a hat (thanks, Mom). When we returned home I read a little and rested as later we were going to play laser tag with everyone.  After resting, Léa’s father drove us to laser tag. We split into three teams for the first round of laser tag, an American team and two French teams.  Although the American team won the first round, we lost the second (although I took first for having the highest points both times).  Upon returning home with Léa we had dinner and talked with her parents. As we both have to wake up early tomorrow, we are going to bed early. Tomorrow I will begin my service project at the Ecole Rebzumpft.

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Photos and Videos from Nicaragua


A video of the group can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyJKlDLT_gQ

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Spring Service Learning Trips


This week forty-seven students, faculty, and staff will be departing on annual service learning trips. This year’s destinations and projects are:

France—March 2 to 18

Departure: Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Return: Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 9:25 p.m.

Started in 1957, this relationship represents the longest running student exchange program between an American and a French high school. George School students work as teachers’ assistants in a variety of educational settings and live with local host families. A trip to Paris is one of the highlights. Students also join their host families for local sightseeing. French students, in turn, visit George School several weeks later.

Mississippi—March 5 to 19

Departure: Sunday March 5, 2017 at 5:30 a.m.
Return: Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 2:25 p.m.

Students work with Habitat for Humanity, helping to build affordable houses alongside those who lack adequate shelter in northern Mississippi. The group also enjoys potluck dinners with current and future Habitat homeowners and other members of the community. Students build relationships with the community as they build homes. There are also opportunities to explore local sites of interest in northern Mississippi.

Nepal—March 5 to 20

Departure: Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 5:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 8:45 a.m.

George School students will assist the school community in laying the foundations for two new classrooms for Janapriya Primary School. The school is located near Dhampus, 200 km west of Kathmandu. Following the service learning work the students hike into the lower foothills of the great Annapurna massif, walking for four days through traditional Hindu villages to enjoy spectacular views of the mountains. The trails explore lush oak and rhododendron forests, and students camp in serene locations that showcase dramatic views of the Annapurna Range.

Nicaragua—March 3 to 18

Departure: Friday, March 3, 2017 at 6:00 a.m.
Return: Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 10:48 p.m.

Students work as teachers’ assistants in our sister school in Barrio Riguero, a working-class Managua neighborhood. Other service opportunities may include repairing and upgrading schools and health clinics in impoverished areas. Students stay with host families who speak very little or no English. Cultural excursions typically involve visits to artisan markets and historic sites, as well as the lakes and volcanoes for which Nicaragua is known for.

Washington, DC—March 5 to 17

Departure: Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.
Return: Friday, March 17, 2017 at 10:05 p.m.

Students volunteer at Martha’s Table, So Others Might Eat (SOME), DC Central Kitchen, and a local mission. Martha’s Table assists children and families with food, clothing, and education. SOME is an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless with food, clothing, and health care. DC Central Kitchen recycles food, provides culinary career training for unemployed adults, and serves healthy school meals. Using Hostelling International as home base, students will have the opportunity to visit museums and explore our nation’s capital.

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Photos from South Africa

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by | March 19, 2016 · 9:44 pm

Thursday, March 17: Last Day of Classes at La Nicaraguita

Emilio ’17 writes:

After a delicious breakfast of tortillas with melted cheese, frijoles, chopped tomatoes and onions, watermelon, tamarind juice, and coffee, we were escorted around the corner for our last day of classes at La Nicaraguita. Inevitably, it was an emotional day for both the Nicaraguan students and for the George School students. After some usual lessons in our classrooms, the entire preschool and primary school gathered for an assembly to celebrate our time together and to say goodbye. After we sang the national anthem, the Nicaraguan students performed several folkloric dances, complete with costumes, and also recited poems and chanted cheers grade by grade. At one point Roberto, the dance teacher and Master of Ceremonies, announced that George School students would now perform a salsa dance. We had practiced it, but we didn’t know we were performing it this morning! Full of laughter, we scrambled into our places and the music started. Roberto danced with Lili, so we kept looking at him to keep ourselves going. It went okay actually, and the Nica students cheered us loudly. Fortunately, the music cut off before the finale, which most of us didn’t really know how to do. The assembly ended with each of us being called to the center, where the children from our respective classes showered us with small gifts and big hugs. I felt so honored to be at La Nicaraguita and to be part of such an incredible experience.

After the closing ceremony we got some time to hang out with our students. As usual, Alec and I got a game of hacky sack going with a few kids, and others soon flocked towards us. Playing hacky sack has become a tradition during these two weeks at La Nicaraguita, and it was sad to think that this would be the last time I would be playing with some of these kids. I gave my hacky sack to Jonathan, a fifth grader who is probably one of the nicest and most fun kids I’ve met on this trip, in the hopes that he will continue the tradition.

After lunch we returned to spend the afternoon with the secondary school students, whom we’ve gotten to know better thanks to the evening encuentros and the outings when they have come with us. They were taking tests at first, but when those were over, the afternoon became a permanent recess with a series of games. One was musical chairs, and it proved to be very competitive. In the end only I and a 7th grade boy were left, dancing around one chair. When the music stopped we both sat down fast, the chair tipped over backwards, and somehow I managed to keep my seat! After the games, the dancing began, despite the heat. When school was over we moved into the street to play stick ball with some of the La Nicaraguita kids and some kids from the barrio who go to public school. They had a real bat, but we used their homemade balls which were surprisingly good, constructed of tightly wound scraps of cloth and then covered with layers of clear tape. They really sailed when hit, and we had to retrieve many balls from roofs down the street.

Soon it was suppertime: gallo pinto, a cabbage slaw, queso, and platanos fritos, with cantaloupe juice. Tonight when our families arrived we carried with us two large bags of grocery items to contribute to the homes that have hosted us so generously. It’s hard to believe we fly home day after tomorrow.

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Photos from Mississippi

Photos courtesy of trip leader Andy Lehto.

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We said goodbye to our host families this morning in Cape Town and arrived safely in Johannesburg. Tomorrow we leave on our safari!

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Thursday in Guebwiller

Marie-Laure writes:

Today in Guebwiller, it was still a little chilly for me but nonetheless a beautiful sunny day, finally! After a day long of courses at the lycée Kastler with their correspondents all of the students returned to their service today.

This morning, I spent some time at the elementary school, Rebzunft, which is the service site where Claire, Lily, and Quinn work. When I arrived there, the three of them were helping a group of 5/6 years old with their diverse coloring projects in the computer lab. Then, I was delighted to hear from the Director of the School, Mme Goetz, that she really appreciates their contribution in the classroom life and with the different activities, and she thought that they were responsible, engaged, and hard-working young ladies.

At the end of my visit because it was also the end of their morning shift we all headed back together to lycée Kastler for lunch and to meet with the rest of the group. All of them were happy but exhausted because, the day before, they sat in two hour long classes. These courses included subjects such as math, English, biology, chemistry, geology, history, and AP (Accompagnement personnalisé). Daisy who really enjoyed the AP class described the courses as a one where students can express themselves about their progress in other courses. In the overall, they all prefer George School class time length.

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La Manana de Verano

Johvanny ’16 writes:

This morning I was awakened by the combined sounds of a crowing rooster and blaring Spanish music from a neighboring house.  Since I woke up earlier than usual, I decided to help my host mom with the household chores she does every morning before she walked me to breakfast at Rafaela´s. 

After we finished breakfast, a class of primary students from La Nicaragüita arrived to escort us to school, but they were ten minutes earlier than usual.  Instead of their normal school uniforms, they were dressed in casual play and beach clothes, which reminded me that today is La Manana de Verano (The Summer Morning) at the school.  As we paired up for our walk to school, some of the older students brought additional tables and chairs to the house in preparation for today´s special lunch with the teachers. Continue reading

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An Outing to a Local Park in South Africa

From Erin:

Since 2001 Rod Robinson has come on every South Africa service trip. He was a GS parent and former board member. He and I were discussing this year’s trip last fall when he died unexpectedly in November. His sons raised money in a memorial fund for us to use while here. Continue reading

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