Trip of a Lifetime for Lindbergh High School Students
For local students at Lindbergh High School, the term “class trip” has taken on a whole new meaning, as they recently returned from an exciting adventure in Costa Rica. These students embarked on a 12-day educational travel expedition where they did far more than sightseeing – they embraced the local culture, lived with native families, engaged in community building projects and learned firsthand the importance of sustainability, while trekking through the rainforest.
In the context of experiential learning, where every activity has an educational purpose, Lindbergh students traversed the Arenal Volcano, swam in natural hot springs, zip-lined hundreds of feet up in the air across the Amazon, white water rafted on the historic Pacuare River and experienced some of the world’s rarest wildlife in the misty cloud forests of the Monteverde region.
Lindbergh's biology teacher, Steven Tomey, who led his students on the trip said, "We did so much personal exploring – zip-lining, caving, hiking and rafting in the rainforest. This was all combined with the cultural experience of our students engaging with the local students through soccer and dance. We participated in community building projects such as trail maintenance in the Children's Eternal Rainforest and big tree planting in Monteverde that really combined to make this a unique, life changing adventure for my students." Steven added, "The new home stay experience - living for two days with a native family - was a highlight and many students wish they could have stayed even longer.
With all the experiences Costa Rica has to give, students took it upon themselves to give back to the local communities. Lindbergh students donated supplies to the Monteverde School and gave monetary contributions to the San Gerardo Biological Research Station and the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. In addition, students worked with the Bellbird Foundation on a reforestation project, which included planting trees and working in a greenhouse.
The trip was planned and executed by Chill Expeditions, a company focused on combining educational and travel philosophy, which enhances the richness and depth of the experience. Brian Benson, general manager for Chill Expeditions, commented on the trip, "Costa Rican Adventures community service projects are not only about getting a job done; they are about creating an intercultural experience where students from N. America and Costa Rica have the opportunity to work, share and play together while reaching and often exceeding set goals."
For Brian, one of the more special moments from the trip was when the Lindbergh Students gave a presentation to local students on their native culture in St. Louis. Brian adds, "The Lindbergh students and teachers took the floor with maps to show the local kids where they are from, stuffed animal toys to describe the animals at their St. Louis zoo, baseballs and gloves to describe the sport and the fact the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last year (Comparing it to the world cup).” To close out the presentation, one of the students spoke about Charles Lindbergh and described his voyage across the Atlantic. When this was done all of the Lindbergh students, each with a t-shirt in hand, raised their arms and started flying around like airplanes, dropping Lindbergh high school t-shirts off to each local student. Brian comments, “In my nine years working in this educational world I have to say, hands down, that this was the best and most creative presentation by a North American school I have ever seen!"
Chill Expeditions has been creating customized, culturally rich learning expeditions for schools, families and travelers for more than 15 years. Owner Crawford “Chill” Hill and Eddie Rodriguez are two former teachers whose commitment to education spurred the concept of Chill Expeditions in an effort to take students out of the classroom and provide them with multidimensional eco-expeditions, filled with adventure, experiential education and cultural and language immersion.