PHOTO: Sophomore Marina Greenwood zip-lines in the Dominican Republic before heading to Fundación Verde Profundo to plant mangrove trees. (Courtesy: Anna Amsler)
By Caroline Chilcott,
A group of students lug bags of fertilizer over their aching backs through the roots of mangrove trees. Meanwhile, almost 5,000 miles away, 31 Davis High Madrigal members perform at the Sistine Chapel. Nine student representatives of the DHS robotics team travel all the way to Suzhou and Hangzhou, China to compete and teach other teams how to build and program robots for competitions.
Several DHS clubs, programs and students continue their education into the summer through trips that are often out of state.
For junior Siddarth Merchant, who is going into his third year on Citrus Circuits, going to China with his teammates enticed him, but not as much as being able to compete alongside teams that looked up to his.
“After we lost in the finals, many other teams came over to our pit and wanted to see our robot. Some were even upset that we had lost. I found it humbling to see how much others respected our team,” Merchant said.
Education First is an international company that specializes in hands on educational travel for middle and high school students. During the end of June and the beginning of July, two groups of students from Davis traveled through EF to the Dominican Republic. Both groups of students worked closely with Verde Profundo, a nonprofit organization that helps restore mangroves and coral reefs.
Sophomore Marina Greenwood, an experienced traveler, took her first trip with EF in seventh grade to Peru. There, Greenwood planted potatoes and constructed an irrigation system for a school.
This summer, Greenwood was one of the travelers that worked with Verde Profundo in the Dominican Republic. Almost every day, the group of students went snorkeling, planted mangrove trees, prepared soil and built coral structures for small fish to hide in.
“I wanted to go [to the Dominican Republic] to really feel like I was making a difference in the world this summer, rather than sitting at home watching television all day,” Greenwood said.
Every three years, the DHS Madrigals take an international trip in order to work with “stellar” directors, receive feedback from experts in the field and hear excellent choirs from all over the world. The Madrigals have been to Italy for their past four international trips, and this year was no different.
Over the summer, 31 Madrigals and 24 adults traveled to Italy, where they performed at the Sistine Chapel, Sant’Andrea della Valle Church and St. Peter’s Basilica. During their trip, the Madrigals toured the Scavi, Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. They also competed in an international choral competition, earning second place.
“[Their recognition] was especially meaningful because the song was dedicated to our beloved coordinator who passed away suddenly last spring,” director Karen Gardias said.
“We got to meet and make a lot of international friends, whom I still talk to,” senior Andrea Leung said. Leung is going into her third year of Madrigals, where she will be the student director of the choir.
Junior Sarah Maranta, the vice president of DHS’ Best Buddies club, went to Bloomington, Indiana in order to participate in the 30th annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference. At the conference Maranta learned about leadership, inclusion and the importance of friendship. Several speeches and performances were given by celebrity advocates of the organization.
This global conference was comprised of over 2,000 people from chapters all over. “I had a super fun time and learned a lot about the organization. It was really cool to meet people from around the world who are participating in Best Buddies as well,” Maranta said.
For many DHS students, taking summer trips as an extension of their extracurricular activities helps deepen their passion and commitment while broadening their exposure to various parts of the world.