Costa Rica | Day 3

After an exciting first day in Costa Rica, we were ready for another day of adventures. The Stuart day group went to beautiful waterfalls by way of horseback riding. Each horse we were given had a unique personality, including Piojo and Gordojo, who loved to go fast. One particular horse named Tequila was notorious for its “loco” personality. Surrounded by gorgeous scenery and nature, jumping off the waterfall was both exhilarating and terrifying; it was an exciting experience for everyone. On the way back from the waterfalls, we were welcomed by the local community with a freshly made feast served with refreshing pineapple juice. We were surprised to see peacocks, macaw parrots, agouti and monkeys. When we arrived back at the hotel, the day groups went to their afternoon activities, including cooking, yoga and salsa dancing. To end the night, local dancers performed traditional dances, inviting students to try on their dresses and hats. This was a truly unforgettable day.

-Thea Pratt, Amelia Batt and Sofia Kozlova

Costa Rica | Day 2

I had so much fun on my day in Costa Rica. Waking up to the birds singing was truly stress-relieving after the tough trip to Costa Rica. I particularly enjoyed doing service today. Speaking with the children was not only a great way to practice Spanish but rather find yourself sharing love and respect with strangers with the simple intention of true integrity and sympathy. Overall, I enjoyed all the experiences today.

-Mateo D.

Costa Rica | Day 1

A quick update from Dominical!. 

The flights were on time, and the first group of students and chaperones arrived at our home for the week in time for lunch, a swim and to familiarize themselves with the property and the wildlife (we saw a toucan!). The second group has landed, on the bus and expected to arrive in the next hour. The weather is beautiful and we are excited to begin our rotations tomorrow and meet together as a full group later this evening. Photos will be posted to the blog this evening and blog posts and reflections tomorrow and the following days. 

¡Pura Vida! 

The Costa Rica Chaperone Team

Day 6: Pantheon, Santa Maria in Trastevere and COVID Testing

Our final day in Rome! We visited the Pantheon in the morning. “After the rainfall overnight, it was cool to see how it fell into the Pantheon,” said Connor Caba, Gr 12. While in the Pantheon, originally a temple later transformed into a Christian church, students saw the tomb of Raphael. After yesterday’s visit to the Vatican and seeing his works of art, the students found it to be a powerful experience.

Following the Pantheon, we all got COVID tested. We’re very happy to announce that we’re all negative! Before dinner, we made a stop at Santa Maria in Trastevere. “The columns are taken from the Baths of Caracalla. It shows the reuse of ancient Rome in Christianity,” said Dr. David Jacobson.

While at dinner, Sofia Tobiason, Gr. 10 volunteered to dance salsa with our waiter. “Besides the food, that was the best part of dinner,” said Sofia. She received a round of applause from the restaurant customers.

The students are all excited to head home first thing in the morning tomorrow.

See the full photo album here.

Day 5: Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica

Are eight hours enough in Vatican City? Definitely not. Today, students viewed numerous pieces of priceless arts and artifacts throughout the 70,000+ exhibits. While many students remarked on the indescribable awe of the Sistine Chapel, they were also grateful to climb to the top of the Coppola of St. Peter’s Basilica. “It was nice to climb to the top to see the whole perspective of the building, especially what it may have looked like many years ago,” said Connor Caba, Gr. 12. In total, visitors must climb 551 steps to reach the top of the dome. Each step becomes progressively narrower as one reaches the top.

Faculty and students including Jonathan Fields and Jacob Savage, Gr. 10 and Sydney Mountain, Gr. 11 attended mass spoken in Italian at St. Peter’s Basilica. It was powerful for each to engage in an aspect so close to our school community in the most holy of places. We saw the statue of St. Francis, who we pray to during each chapel, within the walls of the basilica along with many other Saints and past Popes. Guiseppe Scala, Gr. 10 discovered old graffiti dating back to 1671 etched into the marble of some I the statues. While we don’t encourage defacing works of art, it was amazing for each of us to see ordinary peoples who left their literal mark even before the United States of America fought for its revolution.

See the full photo album here.

Day 4: Villa Borghese, Santa Maria Maggiore, Palazzo Massimo and Circus Maximus

The highlight for many today, including Guiseppe Scala, Gr. 10, was the many sculptures we saw in the Villa Borghese. While it was collectively agreed that Bernini’s works are stunning, Guiseppe said that Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix by Canova was his favorite piece saying that, “Just the bed alone is so detailed. I wanted to spend more time looking at it.” In addition to the numerous works on the walls and on podiums, visitors need to remember to look up at the gorgeous ceilings. “They’re breathtaking works of art,” said Sofia Tobiason, Gr. 10.

After lunch, we traveled to Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore (The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major). Some students took the opportunity to pray while others enjoyed the beauty within. Next was the Palazzo Massimo which houses the National Museum of Rome. We viewed several pieces from antiquity and were in awe at the many Roman frescoes. On the way to dinner, we stopped at the Circus Maximus. There, students held another foot race. Nils Wallace, Gr. 10 was the victor! Finally, after a dinner of pizza the group enjoyed a desert of gelato on the way to the hotel.

See the full photo album here.

Day 3: Pompeii

The tour took us out of the city of Rome to visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii. This city was completely buried in ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Before its destruction, Pompeii was viewed as a resort town of sorts, which many Romans  visited. While there, the students discovered symbols of good luck to warn away evil spirits. This was one of Kailer Tom’s , Gr. 12 favorite moments of the day, “seeing the good luck all over Pompeii was really cool.” Clearly, these symbols of good luck didn’t save the city from ruin, but it brought good fortune to us for being able to see what life may have been like for ancient Pompeians. 

While there, the students experienced another amphitheater, this one much smaller than the Roman Colosseum we visited yesterday. The tradition of a student foot race in the amphitheater continued, with Geoffrey Karsant, Gr. 10 victorious. This is one of the favorite moments for Mr. Roderick Mobley, Science Department Chair, of the entire trip.

See the full photo album here.