Teachers and students seek high adventure
By Cristo Rey Staff
Waukegan, IL. – Traveling across the country to top-tier colleges, or to immigration camps on the Nogales, AZ border, or to the ancient ruins of Thailand can seem like the ends of the world from Waukegan – and really scary. But, to the Cristo Rey St. Martin (CRSM) students who had these opportunities, they say it is overwhelming in the best kind of way, sharing cultures, foods and ways of life.
For Susie, a CRSM senior and Schuler Scholar, who traveled to Thailand, it was “a trip of a lifetime,” and a challenge to communicate across language and cultures. In reflecting on cultural and language differences, Susie explains, “It’s really hard to hate someone you’ve shared a meal and a laugh with. The language barrier is miniscule. Smiles and a happy heart are universal.”
Through the Schuler Scholar Program, students attended academic, arts, leadership, and pre-college programs at Brown, Stanford and Boston University (among others) and the National Hispanic Institute. “I did a total immersion program at Georgetown where we did everything from attend international law lectures to dissect rats in the laboratory,” says senior Ranee.
Other students spent their summer “break” working nine-to-five in corporate America. “People don’t believe it when I say I worked full-time at the Walgreens corporate headquarters,” says Chloe, a senior.
Dominique, a senior, and Jessica, a junior, were participants of the Western Golf Association Caddie Academy. According to Dominique, “Being away from our families for so long allows us to be a family with each other and truly grow new life-long friends.”
On the service front, a group of students traveled to Nogales, AZ to explore immigration and U.S.-Mexico border issues with students from St. Viator High School. They hiked the desert migration trail, served food in soup kitchens in Mexico and attended deportation proceedings with a migrant advocate.
Several CRSM teachers had their own academic, professional and travel adventures, including Jon Taus and Darline Gonzalez-Alonso who worked towards their master’s degrees in humanities and science, respectively. English and music teacher Elizabeth Partanech took a week-long “Drumming Around the World” workshop in Milwaukee in June, in advance of teaching a new Music Fundamentals class at CRSM this year. Additionally, math and science teacher KumKum Bonnerjee and Spanish teacher Patricia Ferrer traveled to Colombia and Peru this summer for hiking and sightseeing adventures.