Monday April 22, 2013

ZEKE WRIGHT

Staff Writer

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- Following school trips to China and Europe, students at Hoosick Falls Central School may have the opportunity to travel to Peru to not only tour the sites, but also stay with local families and participate in a community service project.

After approving a trip to Europe next spring, school board members gave their preliminary OK for the planned trip to South America in July 2014, contingent on getting enough students signed up.

The trip would require at least 10 to 12 students who’ve completed a minimum amount of Spanish for the unique immersion experience which, according to Spanish Teacher Pam Fricke, would promote real progression in student’s language skills.

"I really want students to come back with a feeling of what it’s like to live in that culture," she said.

Speaking to school officials last Thursday, Fricke said the two-week trip combined tourism with community service and home stays with local Peruvian families. She said the added family stay component would provide a unique perspective of the local culture not available otherwise.

Students would stay with host families for about half of the time.

A service project in Atuncolla would take place over several days and depend on the community’s needs.

"I love the immersion and the community service piece," Superintendent Kenneth Facin said.

Board members expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity but noted they and organizers would need to do their due diligence.

The trip would be organized through the educational travel program Intercultural Student Experiences. Fricke said she had been contacted by a teacher at another school who had a positive experience through the same program.

The cost would be a little over $4,000 per student, which includes airfare, transportation, lodging, insurance, preparation materials beforehand, and most meals. Financial aid may be available based on income eligibility and fundraisers would also be planned if there is sufficient interest, according to Fricke.

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