If all goes according to plan, the summer of 2022 will see students spirited away from Sherwood to the southern hemisphere, all the way to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador for an 11-day adventure.
On Monday, the Central Local Schools Board of Education authorized high school Spanish teacher Jacqueline Davis to begin fundraising efforts with students interested in embarking on the trip of a lifetime, to one of the most biologically diverse and unique areas on the planet.
Davis spoke about her reasoning behind choosing the Galapagos Islands as the destination.
“It’s very cool because it incorporates so many different subjects. It’s very science-based but it’s also using our Spanish. It touches on geography, weather. This is where Darwin did his studies,” said Davis. “And it’s a very safe place to go.”
Through the student travel firm Explorica, students will first fly to Ecuador, to the capital city of Quito, where they will take in the local culture.
“Within Ecuador, we are going to see several different ethnicities and that’s really cool to see them as well as the things they create, the products they make and experiences they have,” Davis said, noting that the region will also present real-world experiences related to classroom discussions on economics and human rights as well. “We want these kids to make a connection between the classroom and real life.”
Students will then spend two days on the islands after flying 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, where they will sleep indoors at a facility, but also have a chance to see the more than 200 recorded species living on 20 islands comprising more than 3,000 square miles of preserved natural wonder.
District Superintendent Steve Arnold spoke about what he hopes the opportunity will mean for his district’s students.
“I hope they come to learn when you visit places other than the U.S., you learn something about the world and everyone has a way of living we need to respect and learn from what others are doing,” he said. “This trip is a testament to Jacqueline’s interest in introducing children to cultures outside the U.S. and we’re very happy she’s willing to take this on.”
The trip is part of a foreign language department growth spurt that will take Central Local students to Paris next summer. That’s in addition to the installment of an AP Spanish class and the establishment of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica.
Davis, a teacher of 10 years who joined the district three years ago, has traveled abroad with students to France, Spain, Morocco and England previously.
“We want our kids to take four years of Spanish and apply that to their careers,” said Davis. “We’re encouraging students to study abroad in the future, in college, and we hope this trip makes them more likely to do that.”
While facilitated by the school’s foreign language department, the trip will be funded fully by private fundraising. Five to 20 students are expected to take part.
In other recent business, the board:
• Approved the resignation of Derek Smalley as a teacher and as elementary special education/intervention lead teacher, effective at the end of his current contract year.
• Approved the resignation of Nick Karayianopoulos as a teacher and as chorus activities director, effective at the end of his current contract year.
•Employed Anna Kauffman and Mackenzie Melnik as teachers subject to assignment.
• Approved employment of Cheryl Harding as an extended-school-year instructor.
• Approved a list of supplemental contracts, volunteers and substitute teachers for the 2019-2020 school year.
• Approved the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica as an official student organization.
• Approved an agreement for vision impaired services and/or orientation and mobility with the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center for the 2019-20 school year.
• Approved a donation of $300 from the Ney American Legion post for band supplies.