Back from Belize: Student’s Share Their Experience

By: Antonea Rufa, Staff Reporter

In the midst of this past October, a few of Thornton-Donovan’s high school students were given the opportunity to travel in a group of eight to Belize, a country known for its many beautiful destinations.

The students arrived on October 16, where they were given a warm welcome by their host families as well as the students of Belize High School. They attended the high school throughout their stay in Belize.

The Belizeans made a great impact on some of the students at Thornton-Donovan. Maya Dominguez, a freshman, said that the best part of her experience in Belize revolved around the people she met. “The best part about the trip was meeting new people. Belize being fairly far away from where I live, who knew that I would have friends there? Learning the culture there and adapting to it made for a great experience.”

While the students attended school almost every day, they took small trips throughout the week allowing them to bask in Belize’s beautiful weather and learn more about the culture. One of these trips took them to the Museum of Belize. This must-see site enabled the students to learn a great deal about the history and culture of the country. Despite it not being a very big museum, the large amount of information the students learned immensely broadened their views and gave them a moment to think and rethink.

However, this museum was only one amazing trip out of many. With Belize High School, the T-D students embarked on a trip to the Belize Zoo where they saw several species of mammals, reptiles, and birds. Among these animals was the Jabiru Stork, an endangered bird which everyone agreed was an incredible sight to see.

On the same day, they visited the Altun Ha, a famous tourist site unexcavated until 1963. It is made up of stones from the ruins of ancient structures that were reused for the purpose of building Rockstone Pond. Viewing these Mayan Ruins was the highlight of the trip for many.

A few other trips took place such as one to the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, but the trip to the Cayes was a favorite of both Grace Kretzmer, a freshman, and Andrew Breazna, a senior. “My favorite part was the sandbar, which is a giant sand dune in the middle of the ocean where people boat up and anchor themselves. They go out onto this beach, which really cannot be described as a beach. It’s in the middle of the ocean and it goes on for a square quarter mile where the water goes up to shoulder height. You’re able to watch the sunset through the islands while you’re standing on the ocean. It’s a very empowering feeling,” Andrew said in terms of his experience at Caye Caulker.

Belize High School truly welcomed the students with open arms. They celebrated this time of year with a pumpkin carving competition as well as their annual Halloween fair, famous for its spirit and great costumes.

The Belizeans proved to be incredibly welcoming and made the entire trip worthwhile. Grace Kretzmer said, “The people there were the best part of it. Everyone was so incredibly nice and welcoming. They definitely treated us like we were in their class for years previous to this.”

The last day was one unwelcomed by all. The trip came to an end on October 23, after a day consisting of a farewell breakfast in which T-D students shared their gratitude.

This trip truly inspired the students who traveled there. It greatly impacted and inspired  everyone in some way that remains too complex to describe. When asked if there were any last words they would like to share, each student agreed that,”Thornton-Donovan should go to Belize again.”