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Wye River Upper School students serve in the Dominican Republic

wyeriver 1Wye River Upper School students and teachers recently returned from their first international service-learning trip to the Dominican Republic.

The students lived and worked alongside families and staff of the Doulos Discovery School in the mountain town of Jarabacoa. The students completed many hours of service work, including painting classrooms and laying the foundation for a Mayan road replica that will permanently grace the gardens of the Doulos School.

Students learned about Dominican culture as they experienced meals in the homes of locals, merengue dance lessons, and time spent observing the classes of local public and private schools. Other highlights included day trips to the beach and to a waterfall in the mountains.

Kimberleigh Nichols, a Wye River Spanish teacher, was particularly pleased with the trip.wyeriver 2

“We went to Jarabacoa to learn together in an ‘expeditionary,’ hands-on way and to enjoy being a part of one of the most hospitable cultures,” she said. “Once a Dominican welcomes you into their home, you are familia forever. And they mean it. We dream about the possibility of welcoming Doulos students here, perhaps even in an exchange program.”

Nichols lived in the Dominican Republic for three years before she came to work at Wye River Upper School. She taught in the Doulos School and forged lasting friendships while she was there. Nichols was thrilled to return and introduce the students to the culture and to her friends.

Sam Ingle, a Wye River senior said, “I had a great time hanging out with the Dominicans in my age group. I have made connections and plan to keep in touch with the people there. Although they were from a different culture, we still had a lot of similar interests. Our time in the DR made us all aware of what we have at home and appreciate it.”

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Students are already discussing a return trip. Wye River student, Grace Gallagher explains, “I definitely would love to go back and do it all over again. There is so much more to learn and I hope many new (WRUS) students will join in.”

Wye River Upper School is a co-ed college preparatory high school that offers a supportive, yet challenging curriculum for students with a wide range of learning styles and needs in the Eastern Shore and Central Maryland regions. Wye River is located on the campus of Chesapeake College and provides technology across the curriculum, fine art and music electives, environmental science instruction, morning sports, dual enrollment with Chesapeake College, and a low student/teacher ratio.

Photo information

Top photo: Wye River Upper School students and staff lay the foundation for a new path at the Doulos Discovery School in Jarabacoa, DR.

Photo 2: Students (left to right) Ryan Porter of Rock Hall, Jesse Kirchnere of Queenstown, Patrick McNeil of Easton and Cooper Dixon of Easton enjoy playing with the elementary school students of the Doulos Discovery School.

Photo 3: Wye River students visit a waterfall in the surrounding countryside of Jarabacoa, DR.

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