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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Students Participate in Winter Break Service Trip to Costa Rica

Students Participate in Winter Break Service Trip to Costa Rica

  On Dec. 16, sophomores from Sidwell traveled to Costa Rica for the first time since before COVID-19. Students had the opportunity to experience various outdoor activities and work toward their 60-hour community engagement graduation requirement. 

The trip’s logistics were headed by the organization Nations Classroom, a non-profit that aims to educate and inspire students through impactful traveling experiences. 

Assistant Director of Auxiliary Programs Cate Woodward explained that they worked with Nation’s Classroom, who helped facilitate activities and travel, book hotels and transportation, find restaurants and service partners and manage all other aspects of the trip.

According to Woodward, each day offered students a unique service experience — such as a wildlife preservation session or an organized trash pickup on the beach — and opportunities to explore different aspects of Costa Rican nature. 

“The trip was a success in my mind since it fulfilled its purpose of helping students experience other cultures, get to know their peers outside of the classroom, challenge themselves emotionally and have fun,” Woodward said.

Sophomore Lucy Verma agreed that the trip was a great way to experience Costa Rican culture, citing the hike to the waterfalls at Marino Las Baulas National Park as a highlight of the experience.

 “The waterfalls were a great representation of Costa Rica’s beauty and helped us create a much better sense of community for the remainder of the trip,” Verma said.

Sophomore Lexi Orr added that the Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges were mesmerizing, noting that they offered a clear view of Costa Rica’s landscape. “Even though the bridges were high up, being able to experience the rainforest, mountains and volcanoes made it worth visiting.”

Verma explained that even though the service projects, especially the microplastic filtration and wildlife preservation, were rewarding, her favorite part was experiencing the diverse cultures. 

“One day, we went to this person’s house that was part of a small community we were doing service for, and I just thought that was the most eye-opening experience since I was more a part of their community and not just an outsider,” Verma said. “I learned more about the culture and people there than I ever could in a history class, helping me realize that hands-on service provides many opportunities to better understand the people you are working with.” 

Verma added that the trip enhanced her Spanish-speaking skills and helped her connect with more people. 

Woodward hopes the students will look back on the trip with an appreciation for the community and a sense of pride for the people they helped. 

“I am incredibly passionate about experimental learning and the opportunities students can use outside of the classroom to supplement what they are learning within the school’s walls,” Woodward said. “For the rest of the group’s lives, I hope they can all reflect on the bonds they built on the trip.”

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Naomi Sedwick ’26
Naomi Sedwick ’26, Social Media Manager
Naomi Sedwick is currently a Social Media Manager for Horizon. Prior to this, she worked as a Staff Writer for the newspaper.
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