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Soundview students take a worthy mid-winter break

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By Noah Haglund
Herald Writer
@NWHaglund
Published:
  • Michael Krueger, a seventh grader at the independent Soundview School in Lynnwood, taught school children during a February school trip to the Dominic...

    Soundview School

    Michael Krueger, a seventh grader at the independent Soundview School in Lynnwood, taught school children during a February school trip to the Dominican Republic.

  • Soundview School
A dozen students and two adult chaperones from Soundview School in Lynnwood traveled to the Dominican Republic in February to teach E...

    Soundview School A dozen students and two adult chaperones from Soundview School in Lynnwood traveled to the Dominican Republic in February to teach English to local students. This group photo was taken at a baseball field in the town of Monte Cristi, located on the country´s north coast, near Haiti.

LYNNWOOD -- When seventh grader Michael Krueger traveled to the Dominican Republic as part of a school trip in February, he wondered how the locals would receive him and his U.S. classmates.
Michael was one of a dozen students from the private Soundview School who spent a week teaching English to grade schoolers in the Caribbean nation, which shares an island with Haiti.
By the time the trip was over, Michael felt like he was the one walking away with a valuable lesson.
"I really learned how good I have it," said the 13-year-old from Edmonds. "They don't have an Xbox to play, they don't have an iPod to listen to."
Despite the lack of material wealth, the children he met were welcoming, cheerful and excited about learning English.
The trip took place over the Lynnwood school's mid-winter break. Soundview, an independent, nonprofit, serves about 160 students from preschool through eighth grade. The excursion fulfilled a community service requirement of the International Baccalaureate program.
More than that, the experience was meant "to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect," head of school Inae Piercy said.
The journey was something of a role reversal for the Soundview students; they would have to plan lessons and try to make them work in a roomful of 20 or more sometimes unruly students.
"Teaching is hard," Piercy said. "You have to prepare. You deliver, and sometimes it bombs."
They drew on Soundview's arts-infused curriculum, using acting skills and drawings to teach English words for "happy," "tired," "bored," "thirsty" and "hungry." They also taught the Dominican students English vocabulary to describe the weather. They got to practice Spanish as well.
Soundview School arranged the trip through Orphan Outreach, an organization that provided accommodations two miles from the school in Monte Cristi, a town on the northern coast near the Haitian border.
The students taught two classes in the morning and two in the afternoon, with a siesta for lunch. That meant walking to and from the school twice a day -- a total of 8 miles.
The Soundview group included students, from the seventh and eighth grades, plus Piercy and another adult chaperone. It cost about $1,700 per person.
Several of students want to go back.
Michael's one of them.
"It was amazing," he said. "It was probably the most life-changing experience of my life so far."
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Story tags » EdmondsLynnwoodPrivate SchoolTravelInternational

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