Victor School

  • School Partner: Victor School
  • Hometown: Victor, Montana
  • Trip Dates: June 15, 2018 - June 24, 2018
  • Destination : Antigua & Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

“It’s easy to forget that there’s so much outside of your little bubble and bigger issues in the world that we don’t see or experience in the U.S.”

–Emma

The Victor School is the heart of the small rural town of Victor, Montana. It was founded in the 1800’s and continues to serve a total K-12 student population of 300 where 100% of the students receive free or reduced-price school lunch. The poverty rate is high in this community and many families struggle to make ends meet.  As expected, access to diversity or global education for these students are incredibly limited.

Highlights from the trip

  • Walked through the cobblestone streets of Antigua
  • Tasted all the local street foods at the Chichicastenango Market
  • Climbed one of the many volcanoes outside Antigua
  • Visited Quetzaltenango (Xela) and the Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs
  • Volunteered at local organizations on Lake Atitlan, such a women’s cooperatives & social enterprise NGO’s

During their time in the country, the students pushed themselves outside their comfort zones, served the local community, and fostered something that we’re often missing nowadays – real world human connections.

Lindsey, the amazing teacher who led this trip, reflects on their journey. She shared how the students connected with the local community they served:

The second day we worked with Konojel, we played much-anticipated games of both soccer and basketball. More of our hats were gifted away and signed, and their kids gave us all little wooden hearts with Konojel engraved on them to commemorate our time together.

These multicultural connections we were forging made the news from home of separated immigrant families at the border seem both unbelievable but also conquerable if we simply continue to foster friendships and understanding like those I was seeing form in a matter of days.

She also shared how the trip impacted her and the students:

It was my first time traveling with a group this size, my first time leading a group of students, and my first time experiencing the joys and challenges of travel through others’ lenses. We were all exhausted by the time we headed to the airport for our red-eye flight home, and for a moment it was hard to see past the teen-attitude born from lack of sleep and ten days in unfamiliar territory. But then, I started reading some of the post-journey reflections that those same testy teens wrote, and I was brought to tears with their responses.

Reading things like, “I realized how much we take for granted: like toilet paper and clean water, and free education,” and, “Everyone has their own way of living and mine is no better than anyone else’s,” and even, “I want to work harder in school because I now know what kind of an opportunity I have.”