Reaching new horizons

Scouting the globe

As the summer temperatures started to rise, many students looked to gain new experiences across the world. Whether it was biking across the narrow streets of Copenhagen, venturing up Mt. Whitney to look across the rocky skyline or sitting in the back of a lake house, students learned about the various experiences the world has to offer.

Tiffani Coull, history teacher, brings a select number of students on an international trip each summer touring various sites while learning about the world through first hand interaction. Kennidy Taylor, senior, traveled on this year’s annual school trip to Scandinavia.

“It really seemed like a great opportunity, and it looked like it was a great way to travel with your friends,” Taylor said. “It was more organized (than traveling alone) since we had an itinerary, tours of each day.”

The trip began in late June and brought students to Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Norway was filled with tours within the countries, cruise rides, trying foreign food, but ultimately gaining a new perspective of the world and various experiences it has to offer.  

“There was one day in Copenhagen, it was so packed and it was so much fun because we went to an amusement park and we toured Copenhagen on bikes…it was absolutely gorgeous,” Taylor said.  

While one can travel the globe and learn about the world, some just look for a peaceful escape. Veronica Seixas, senior, found a relaxing getaway to celebrate the summer in Maine.

“My family bought a small property by a little lake called Little Straggle Lake and we own a small cabin. So we went there and I got to bring some of my friends too, it’s kind of like our summer get away, and plus I wanted to bring my friends there,” Sexias said.

Traveling to Maine each summer, a small, yet distant trip allows for Sexias to truly appreciate taking a break and escaping reality.

“I feel like traveling and seeing the world can drastically change your views, going to Maine was really nice because it was a week with no responsibility and being removed from society, allowing me to relax and just enjoy what’s around me,” Sexias said.

Traveling doesn’t always come in the form of relaxation. Josh Welcher, senior, spent a majority of his summer traveling, but some of his favorite memories came from the backpacking excursions he pursued with his scout troop at the Great Basin and Mt. Whitney.

“(Accomplishing the trip) was really satisfying. Scouts really helped me expand my horizons and I used the opportunity this summer to get more fit and improve myself.” Welcher said. “It was a great way for me to take some awesome pictures, which is why I got into backpacking, and I had a great time working with everyone in my troop.”

 

Helping around the world- Sarah

 

As summer came around, students looked for opportunities to travel the world, or volunteer. Some looked for both.

Sally Lee, senior, went to Cambodia this summer through a program called Adventures Cross Country (ARCC) to participate in the Clean Water Project, making water filters and teaching children how to speak English.

“We went to this rural area, Kampong Speu, and we actually installed (water filters) in individual houses,” Lee said. “We installed 15 total, and it was nice because we got to interact with the actual families and the kids.”

The school she taught at is for kids that cannot afford to go to a traditional school. “We taught them (English) and we brought them donations,” Lee said. “You could just tell how happy they were when they got stuff.”

Lee’s favorite part of the experience was the people.

“Everybody is always smiling, and despite the fact that they don’t have a lot…they’re just so much happier and more welcoming,” Lee said.

Jill Chen, senior, went to Taiwan for four weeks also to teach children English. She went through Formosa Association of Student Cultural Ambassadors (FASCA), a Taiwanese culture organization that she volunteers for.

There was a closing ceremony that was very gratifying for the teachers. “Our kids made us these message boards with really sweet notes on them. They also put on a performance singing English songs, which was nice to see some of our work paid off in their performance,” Chen said.

Kalia Sebastian, sophomore, did something similar to Chen and Lee. She went to Caicay, Peru for two weeks through a summer abroad program called Putney. While she was there, Sebastian helped with construction, taught English and played with the kids in the village.

Sebastian specifically helped build bathrooms for the village. “We dug out all of the pits for the plumbing and we built out the foundation to the stalls.”

After working, Sebastian would do activities with the kids. “When the school got out the kids would come and help us a little bit with construction,” Sebastian said. “They liked playing in the work site.”

During her trip, Sebastian also learned a lot about the Peruvian culture partly by learning how to cook a traditional Peruvian meal. “I learned to cook Cuy (Guinea Pig),” Sebastian said.

Dasha Manzhos, senior, went to Kampala, Uganda with her church missionary team. While she was there, she visited and helped out at orphan schools.

“Two days we painted and helped paint hallways, and then one day we helped farm and plant tomato seeds,” Manzhos said. “One day we also served lunch for them, but most of the time we just played with them and they really liked seeing us there.”

The affection was mutual, as Manzhos also really enjoyed their company. “It was cool to see where they’re coming from and get to talk to people that I’m not usually used to talking to, from a different part of the world,” Manzhos said.

All three students have realized something different on their trips.

“You get a lot more grateful about what you have here. Being able to take a shower, and actually having clean water,” Lee said.

Chen also noticed this. “(I learned of) the lack of resources the countryside has,” Chen said. “It was really nice to be able to impact them positively so they do want to go out and learn English in the future.”

Sebastian witnessed firsthand the lack of resources. “The experience made me more aware of everything I have. We were out of water because the plumbing just stopped working,” Sebastian said. “We had to go two days without water. It just made me more appreciative.”

Manzhos had a more spiritual revelation. “Faith and love overcome any circumstances that you might be going through,” Manzhos said. “They endure a lot of hard times there — poverty and famine — but their love of family and their faith really helps them overcome these struggles, and it makes me want to do the same thing.”

All three recommend traveling and volunteering to everybody.

“It was an eye opening experience. I really recommend people do the same,” Manzhos said.

Chen agrees. “It’s a really good learning experience and you get to see how hard teachers work because you never really realize that.”

Lee also believes that “it’s definitely something that you should do in your lifetime. Just to go and expand your horizons.”

However, not everybody has the resources to do what Lee, Chen, Sebastian and Manzhos did. “I don’t specifically mean you have to do it the way I did,” Lee said, “But I definitely think you should go out to a different area that’s not where you’re used to to learn more about something else in a different place and how people live.”

These trips were very memorable. Sebastian said, “The experience for us, it made us change more than it changed them.”

 

Gianna Hands-on Learning

Conventional classroom settings are not the only places where students gain knowledge and experiences that benefit their future.

Michelle Rothman, senior, interned for a nonprofit called Mountains Restorations Trust in the Santa Monica Mountains. The organization focuses on, “habitat restoration and saving endangered species in the local habitats,” Rothman said.

She became interested in Environmental Science after taking Mr. Martin’s IB Environmental Systems and Societies class. “Mr. Martin’s class definitely helped me gain an awareness of how important native species are to our environment, especially in California…. I would work at Potrero and focus on planting native species and plants…then on Wednesdays we removed crayfish which are an endangered species,”  Rothman said.

The summer experience truly impacted her, “it increased my appreciation for environmental science and just helped my passions grow. I was surrounded by people who share their passions with me and it was just a great opportunity,” Rothman said.

Rothman believes that, “The environment is very important and should not be valued any less,” Rothman said.

Most people stay inside the country and work or intern over the summer, or just tan at their local beach. Eesha Chattopadhyay, senior, went to Providence, Rhode Island to learn more at Brown University. “I stayed right by Brown’s campus for around a week and a half and I was shadowing a medical geneticist and her genetic counselors, so I was exposed to types of patients and genetic counseling, and the whole practice of medical genetics as a whole,” Chattopadhyay said.
Medical geneticists are trained in basic medicine and diagnosing hereditary and medical disorders. Genetic counselors help people understand consequences and nature of their genetic disorder. “ The genetic counselor and the doctor work together to create a plan how to test them to figure out exactly which diagnosis they should get. One of the biggest things that they do is microrays and they do karyotypes and if they can’t really figure out from those two things, then they do the entire genome which is called exotesting,” Chattopadhyay said.

There are not very many medical geneticists in practice, “ Most physicians in general don’t know very much about genetics, which is why genetic disorders are so difficult to diagnose. I wanted to see just how the genetics clinic would look like, it was a really insane experience,” Chattopadhyay said.
Genetic disorders are can be caused by an abnormality in an individual’s DNA. They are primarily hereditary, and it can be very difficult emotionally and sometimes physically on families. “One of the times that I was in the room, the genetic counselor was suggesting to this entire family that they all do exotesting because there were just really bizarre medical illnesses in the entire family. All three of the daughters and mother had autoimmune diseases. One of the daughter’s vision was going away, this other one had recurring seizures and this other one had autoimmune, so it was just really crazy stuff that couldn’t really be found on a karyotype or really a microarray…I definitely think that going and working in a lab if that’s what you want to do then you should definitely try and see if you like that lifestyle,” Chattopadhyay said

After their amazing internship over the summer, both Rothman and Chattopadhyay want to pursue their passions in college. There are many opportunities over the summer,and both women truly took advantage of that and benefited immensely

                                            

Summer camps provide students with the opportunity to focus on something they have an interest towards. This summer many NPHS students took advantage of their time going to a variety of summer camps to learn and gain experience.

Sarah Wang, junior, went to an agriculture camp (AG Discovery) for three weeks at Maryland University College Park during summer break. AG Discovery provided Wang with an understanding of what a job in the agricultural field would look like.

“I’ve always been interested in plant science and my dream job is to be a plant pathologist so I just wanted to make sure that I was really actually interested in it,” Wang said.

During the course of three weeks, Wang was able to go on field trips and learn from the professors and graduate students from the University. Wang’s most unforgettable experience at the camp was when she was able to fistulate a cow.

Not only bringing back knowledge and memories, Wang also found her determination to become a plant pathologist. Dr. Payne is a plant pathologist who was from the US Department of Agriculture that liaised with the camp.

“I had a nice conversation with him and I learned that I want to be a plant pathologist either for the government or a large agribusiness,” Wang said.

Finishing her third summer camp, Wang wanted to do something meaningful during her summers.

“Summer camps are a way to broaden my horizons and actually do something,” Wang said.

Instead of being the student in summer camp, Luke Magnante, senior, decided to spend his summer being a junior camp counselor at Camp Summertime.

Hearing about the amazing experiences his friends had, Magnante decided that he also wanted to try out the fun experience. Starting from the second week of summer all the way until the week before school started, Magnante worked six hours every Monday to Friday.

Being a junior camp counselor, Magnante had the responsibility of supervising the kids and guiding them in activities.

From soccer to archery to fishing, Magnante was always there with the kids. This job not only provided Magnante with a memorable experience but also gave him the opportunity to learn how to get along with kids.

“I learned to be more patient because it takes a couple times to get the kids to actually do stuff,” Magnante said. “It helped my patience a lot.”

Going into her first summer after the start of high school, Charlotte Weymer, sophomore, spent five weeks in Boston participating in a ballet intensive program. Starting ballet from the age of four, summer is always the perfect time for Weymer to focus on her passion for dance.

“During the school year I can’t dance from nine a.m. to five p.m. because I go to school, (so) I can only dance after school,” Weymer said.

After auditioning during the school year, Weymer was accepted into the Boston Ballet Summer Intensive.

“Boston Ballet has some of the best training in the country and so the volume of training is not quite as important as the instructors,” Weymer said. “The instruction you’re getting is really the most important part and so getting to train at Boston Ballet with all the faculty there was really an amazing experience.”

Waking up every morning at 6:30 a.m., Weymer spent the majority of her day in the dance room.

“You have your first class at maybe nine o’clock and then you usually dance until four (or) five p.m. with breaks in between, and then you head back and do it over again the next day,” Weymer said.

Believing that in practice makes perfect, Weymer spent most of her summer in Boston training and doing extra practices. Her biggest challenge was to learn to find the balance between the amount of training she wants to do and the amount of training her body can manage.

“Dancing this many hours a day, you learn almost what it means to have to put your needs in front of everything else…there were sometimes where you had to try and take a step back,” Weymer said. “You have to make sure you’re really taking care of your body cause ballet is really hard on your body.”

All wanting to spend their summer in a meaningful way, summer camps provided them with unique and beneficial experiences.

“Summer programs are a really important way to advance in your sport without having to worry about academics simultaneously,” Weymer said, “It also helps that they are fun!”

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