LHS Students to Travel to Costa Rica on Service Trip
February trip will combine community service and eco-friendly projects.
Members of the Lexington High School Central America Service Trip Club will be traveling to Golfito, Costa Rica, in February to do community service and environmental projects in an impoverished region.
In early February, 14 students will spend three days on the edge of the rain forest in the small Costa Rican town of Golfito. The area is said to have become impoverished recently, due to disease-infected banana crops – the town's main source of income.
The club will first fly to San Jose, then take a bus to Golfito. From there, the group will take a ferry to a reserve set up by the Costa Rican government on the edge of the rain forest.
Adam Kane, a leader of the Central America Service Trip Club, told the School Committee in late November that the club would be splitting its time doing community service projects – such as painting walls and building fences – while also doing environmental work, like planting saplings.
"We are also hoping to set up a satellite mapping system for the reserve as well," Kane said.
Kane was before the committee on Nov. 30, seeking approval for the trip, which was granted.
"I think you're doing a wonderful thing, and we wish you well," said Margaret Coppe, a committee member.
Quincy Snellings, another leader of the service club Leader, said in an e-mail that he had gone on a club trip to Honduras in 2009, however political turmoil in that country meant the club could not return this school year.
"In our search for alternative service work, we came across O2 for Life, a non- profit eco-reserve dedicated to helping the community of Costa Rica. The director, Dominique Aubin, is a Lexington resident," Snellings said.
Last year, the club spent time on the reserve building a tree nursery to grow saplings to assist in reforestation work. Members also worked at a local school in the community of Puerto Jimenez.
"Even though school was dismissed in Coast Rica, 40 students, ages seven to 12, showed up to help us," Snellings said. "Together we sanded desks and painted the three classrooms. But the biggest impact we made was through the connections we built with the students in the community."
Snellings said the community was excited that club members were there to help, and also wanted to hear about their lives.
"Although our labor was great, it was our connections that left the biggest impact," he said. "This year we are excited about returning to the school and rekindling our connection while we build a fence to protect the children from the heavy traffic on the newly constructed road."
This year, 30 high school students from all grades interviewed for four new slots to go on the trip. A total of 14 students will go, including eight seniors, four juniors and two sophomores, accompanied by two chaperons from the Foreign Language Department.
The students will be paying the $1,500-1,600 per-person cost of the trip themselves, and will raise money through bake sales and other fundraising initiatives.