Day 2: Capitoline Museum, Campus Martius and Mater

Jonathan Fields, Gr. 10 summarized the group experience today by stating that “learning Latin is … useful!” regarding the numerous artifacts from antiquity that include this language. Together we visited the Capitoline Museum, which houses famous works such as the remaining pieces of the Colossus of Constantine, The Dying Gaul, the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, and the Capitoline Wolf. Bailey Parent, Gr. 11 presented today on the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius including that this bronze statue had survived when others were melted down for reuse due to its misidentification as Constantine the Great, the “Christian Emperor.” In between the Capitoline Museum and the Campus Martius, students had the opportunity to eat lunch in the Jewish Ghetto, where Sophia Tobiason, Gr. 10 said that she had the “best pasta ever.” The group moved on to visit Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Ara Pacis, and more.

See the full photo album here.

Day 1: Exploring Ancient Rome

This morning the group visited the Roman Forum and the Palantine Hill. The students worked to translate a piece from Ovid (The Fasti) where we discussed the origin story of Rome. After a delicious lunch near the Colosseum, we ventured into the famous amphitheater. There, students learned about the lives of gladiators — some even purchasing their own “armor” from the gift shop. We ended the day with dinner in the remains of the Theater of Pompey, where Julius Caesar was killed.

See the full photo album here.

Day 5: Sophomore Costa Rica Trip

Student Reflection by Jonathan Fields

With it being the second to last day of activities, one might think the trip starts to slow down. This wasn’t the case. Being in the first group of rafting, I had to wake up extremely early and eat breakfast even earlier. We started the rafting trip early with having our tour guide, Alvaro, educate us on the surrounding area, and give us info on the palm oil industry and the big corporations competing for them, the Saverde River and the attempt to create a hydroelectric plant and the locals who have fought in the judicial system to keep the river in its natural form. By the end of the rafting trip, everyone’s clothes were drenched, dirty, and we still had to ride the buses back. Lunch was a good refresher though. We’re about to finish up the day with a Salsa tournament and a talent show, both of which I’m not competing in (thankfully.) This trip has been amazing so far, even with the guidelines. I hope everyone gets back safely. 

Pura Vida!

See the full photo album here.

Day 4: Sophomore Costa Rica Trip

Student Reflection by Elizabeth Kilmer and Claire Abel

Today as a part of the Tortuga group, we went hiking and zip lining through the jungles of Costa Rica. The hike was challenging at first, but it was all worth it once we got to zip through the trees. We saw many animals including sloths (2-toed and 3-toed) and we also learned how to distinguish them from each other. We also saw toucans and monkeys that were only feet away from us. There were also many clusters of ants marching along with leaves on their backs. These are known as black army ants, or bullet ants. Once we got to the top of the stairs, we rode through eight zip lines, which got more challenging as we went along. On the last one they encouraged us to go backwards, which we did. After we hiked back down, some of us went snorkeling and saw whales, while others went to the town of Dominical. The two of us experienced the culture of Dominical by walking through the streets, shopping and eating at a cafe. We finished the day by sitting at the pool and chatting with our friends. 

See the full photo album here.

Day 3: Sophomore Costa Rica Trip

Student Reflection by Grace Gallagher

Today we started the day off surfing. It was a blast because we got to hang out with the local instructors and shred some waves. (Pura Vida!) Then we walked back to the hotel and showered, had lunch and were off to ziplining. We took an eco tour and saw two capuchin monkeys, three sloths and a LOT of ants! We ziplined on seven lines (one backwards) and overall it was super fun. Now we’re sitting in the dining room after dinner and are about to finish our card game! Grace’s highlight of the day: surfing! Buenas noches! 

Student Reflection by Liam Donohue

Today we went to a local school to construct a garden and paint a walkway for the school. My group helped create a lettuce garden (una lechuga). We cleared out the weeds in the area and put new soil in for the plants. It was challenging because the school was on a steep hill. After the service, we went to Playa Hermosa (Sister Beach) and played football as a group. The beach was very beautiful and we talked with a local mom about Costa Rican life. I really learned a lot about Costa Rican life and customs and had a lot of fun. Liam’s highlight of the day: talking to Local Mom about Costa Rican life!

See the full photo album here.

Day 2: Sophomore Costa Rica Trip

Student Reflection by Courtney Hall

After what felt like the longest day of my life, I had an amazing night sleep at the hotel and was super excited to go horseback riding with the Tortugas group today. We took the buses up to the waterfall and met up with the half that rode the horses there. The water was super refreshing and everyone jumped in, immediately thrilled to have relief from the humidity. We eagerly lined up to take turns jumping from the waterfall and everyone was smiling ear to ear. Post-swim my half of the group got paired with our horses and had fun discussing their names. We galloped through the jungle with our guides and trucked through some deep rivers. The entire experience was amazing and there was never a dull moment. To end the day the Tortugas had an awesome medicinal nature walk where we learned all about different kinds of plants on the property. Carlos was very engaging and Mr. De Santis even brought out his fake, robotic snake for a good laugh. I’ve taken tons of photos and made so many memories and the trip has only begun. I can’t wait to see what else Costa Rica has in store for me and the rest of my classmates. PURA VIDA!!!!!

Student Reflection by Ayden Arcillas

After a very exhausting day of travel, I was so excited to start my journey off with an amazing breakfast. Everything was so new to me, as it was my first time out of the country. We hopped on a bus and traveled to a local school nearby. We were able to give children notebooks and pens so they could continue their educational journey. We also were able to paint walls, plant in the garden and play soccer with the little kids at the school. My favorite part was being able to use my Spanish skills to converse with the local children. After that, we arrived back at the hotel and learned how to salsa dance! Overall, this experience was an amazing opportunity for me to really detach myself from what I am used to and explore the world and fun around me!

Student Reflection by Saybrook Whalen

Today we went ziplining! The day started out amazingly because on the bus ride over there we drove next to the river bank with a view of the beach with lush trees everywhere. When we got to the place we took some photos and hung out for a bit then started the hike and saw a bunch of lizards and monkeys and sloths and such. The first zip line was so nice after the hike because we got some Breeze after being in the humidity for so long. The further into the eco tour we got the higher the zip lines got and the prettier the views got. At the end they gave us all fresh watermelon and we went back and jumped in the pool. Awesome first day!! Pura Vida!!

See the full photo album here.

Day 1: Sophomore Costa Rica Trip

All students have arrived safe and sound to the Villas Rio Mar in Dominical, Costa Rica. Students had dinner, met as a class to discuss ground rules and tomorrow’s activities, and had some extra time for a night swim! They are now exhausted and all in their rooms.

Tomorrow morning will begin our three day rotation of horseback riding, elementary school service & the eco-tour. In the afternoon, students will have the opportunity to take a salsa dance class from one of our local guides Laura, a surf lesson on Playa Dominical or take a medicinal plant walk with our head guide Carlos. 

The blog will be uploaded daily, usually at night. We can’t wait to kick off another adventurous and immersive week in Dominical. 

Pura Vida y Buenas Noches!
Costa Rica Chaperone Team

See the full photo album here.

Day 5: Junior Costa Rica Trip

Tony Farrell Chaperone Blog Post

Each day in the “Ballena” group we discussed the intention of the activity on the bus home and provided context for the work. On our ride back from the school our students learned that, while school is free for Costa Ricans, most students in the rural areas we visited do not have access to school supplies, and the students need school supplies to attend. Our students reflected on the impact of sharing the kinds of supplies that they can readily get at Target. On the way back from Hacienda Baru, we encouraged them to reflect on the story of Dr. Jack Ewing, who came from a family of ranchers and hunters and studied agriculture at Colorado State. He bought land in Costa Rica, cut down the jungle, and raised cattle. Somewhere along the line he felt, each time he was trying to remove the body of a rare animal caught in his barbed wire, that perhaps there was another way he could make a living with the land. Thus was the beginning of one of the first eco-tourism spots in Central America. We encouraged the students to think about that voice they might be hearing to follow their calling, and not just the expectations that they carry. Finally, at the trip to the waterfall on horseback, we talked about the fears that some of the students carried about the day. I asked if any of them knew of the fears of the others, and for the most part, they did not. It was a great opportunity to reiterate that age-old wisdom that “everyone you meet is battling something you know nothing about. Be kind.” It’s been a great week.

See the full photo album here.

Day 4: Junior Costa Rica Trip

Student Reflection by Bailey Parent

My class started the day with a fun game of Hokey Pokey, what a blast! Right after, we were off for the day’s activities. Today my group helped serve the students at La Escuela Balena. I played soccer with the students and colored beautiful pictures with them. Afterwards, I helped paint the school’s cafeteria and then started a garden outside. It was so hot outside, but I was so busy I didn’t even notice it. When all the hard work was done we sat in the shade to have a traditional Costa Rican lunch. Now, for the best part of the day a small group was able to go surfing. I was able to learn to surf while watching the sun set. Today I was able to learn the importance of helping others and trying new things. 

Student Reflection by Natalie Posner

¡Hola from Dominical! This morning my group, Tortuga, took the bus to a local school called La Escuela Balena. After playing soccer and drawing with the kids, we began to paint their school cafeteria and dug a new garden plot. Lunch was a delicious rice and meat dish with salad on the side. We drove back to the hotel and quickly got ready for surfing. After a short walk through town, we made it to the beach! Our surf instructors were super friendly and I was able to stand up after the first few tries. Surfing under the sunset was one of the most special experiences that I have had on this trip! I can’t wait for what tomorrow will bring! ¡Adios! ¡Pura Vida!

See the full photo album here.