by Valentina Birritta (16)
Each year, Wethersfield High School students are given the opportunity to join their fellow classmates on an educational tour. The tours offer an adventure to a number of places around the world, including Greece, Costa Rica, and Belize. Wethersfield High School, along with EF Tours, offers these trips to students as a method of learning and experiencing the world outside the classroom.
John Sand, a teacher at Wethersfield High School, is one of the chaperones of these trips and takes up to 30 students with him each year. I sat down last week with Mr. Sand in the cafeteria where he told me more about these learning experiences.
“I took my first trip with students in 1995. We went to Mexico. Second trip was in 1997, and we went to Greece,” Sand said.
When asked why he enjoys taking students on this trip each year, he said, “I like seeing students grow, I like seeing students learn things they wouldn’t learn in a classroom. I like seeing students see that there is a different perspective on the world than we have here in the United States.”
Sand believes when a student learns something outside the classroom it has more meaning. It’s not just another test, project, or homework assignment. It’s learning hands on by seeing places, meeting people and experiencing a new culture.
“Once you become educated, you can’t become uneducated. Once you see that the world works in a different way maybe than you thought it did, you will always have that information and that knowledge,” Sand said. “There’s certain things that you can’t learn in a classroom that you can only learn by traveling, but then there’s things you have to learn in a classroom that you can’t learn just by going somewhere.”
Wethersfield High School is one of the few high schools that offer this learning experience. Addie Chudzik, a junior at Portland High School, was informed about the trips’ students at WHS have the opportunity to take. “I wish my school offered that,” Chudzik said. “It’s rewarding to be able to learn by traveling, it’s an unforgettable experience.”
Sand has already planned another trip to Belize with EF Tours, which is being offered to students this year.