An excited bunch of students from a local high school will soon embark on the trip of a lifetime as an alternate end of school celebration.
Year 11 and 12 students from Southern Hills Christian College will head to the Philippines in November for a Leavers2Leaders trip to undertake community work and complete various humanitarian projects.
This year’s trip marks the tenth voyage for the school with hundreds of students and staff taking part in the life-changing journey over the past decade.
Year 12 student Nugataaria Te Rito travelled to the third world country last year and will be going again this November.
“When we left last year I knew straight away that I wanted to do it again this year instead of going to leavers,” she said.
“There is some pretty interesting food over there and the most interesting I came across was balut, which is a developing bird embryo that is boiled and eaten from the shell.
“You crack it open, put a ton of salt on it and the put it down the hatch, but for me it didn’t quite go down the hatch.
“I did enjoy eating the fried sugar cane rats though, which they caught for us out on the fields.”
Since returning from last year’s trip Nugataaria has kept in touch with a few of the Filipino students, one of which she calls her “modern day pen-pal” thanks to communication via social media.
Principal Paul Beacham has been on every trip for the past 10 years and several more to the developing country.
“I wanted an alternative to the American-style spring break for our students and our parents wanted an alternative where their kids could be safe and do something inspiring,” he said.
“I had played a lot of basketball in the Philippines but when my body started to fall apart, we started working on other projects such as building orphanages, schools and churches.
“We go there each year with a purpose to try and improve the lives of those in the Philippines and in return our students receive a different world view.”
This year the students will be visiting a special needs school in the remote community of La Carlota.
A sea container full of educational supplies and building equipment was sent to the Philippines last week in order to reach the school in time for the students trip in November.
The supplies were donated by education products suppliers OfficeMax and Winc.
OfficeMac and Wine representative Fiona Wallis said the companies were delighted to be able to support the students with the project.
“We’re here to inspire and support creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in schools by equipping teachers and learners with everything they need and this is a great example of this at work for the less fortunate,” she said.