CLARKSVILLE — Fifteen Clinton-Massie High School Spanish III and IV students and their chaperones united with 12 students from Greely Central High School in Colorado over the summer in Costa Rica, for what proved to be an “absolutely unforgettable” trip, according to students reflecting on their journey.
The CM students boarded an airplane the morning of June 10, and nine hours later landed in sunny Costa Rica for an eight-day adventure filled with sightseeing, hiking, swimming, kayaking, zip lining, horseback riding, gourmet dining, animal watching and people watching. Working with EF Educational Tours, Spanish teacher Mary Watts coordinated the trip.
From the tour director named Christian to the bus driver named Diego, students were able to ask questions, learn about, and experience the food, housing, animals, plants, transportation, and money of the Costa Rican culture.
Students toured the coffee plantation known as Doka Estates where they learned how coffee was made and sampled coffee that left students “highly recommending Costa Rican coffee to any coffee lover,” said Watts.
Students also visited the Poas Vocano where they saw a crater lake that only one in ten people are able to see due to the mist and clouds surrounding the volcano. When students traveled to the Arenal region, they visited the town of La Fortuna where they hiked up and down approximately 500 stairs. Students went kayaking and swimming in Lake Arenal, and spent an afternoon at Baldi Hot Springs.
On another outing, students and their chaperones traveled to the mountainous region of Monteverde where they visited a local school in Escuela de la Cruz.
The school itself is very small, housing fewer than 20 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. EF Tours has taken a special interest in the school and have donated funds to help construct new buildings for classrooms in addition to sponsoring activities. Massie and Greely students also chipped in by donating school supplies that will further instruction and learning.
Students also experienced zip lining through the canopy of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, hiked in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest, and took in the local sights while horseback riding. They traveled to the Central Pacific Coast, went to the Rainforest Adventures Park, learned about the native flora and fauna, (plants and animals) and visited a butterfly garden.
There was also a trip to the Manuel Antonio National Park where students hiked to a beach and spent the day observing raccoons, capuchin moneys, hermit crabs and iguanas.
Students also took in the artwork at Sarchi, where local artists have painted a the buildings, bridges, and other areas throughout the town. A special attraction there is the world’s largest oxcart, built for the visit of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. It was here that students went souvenir shopping as Costa Rica is known for its beautiful crafting of woodwork.
The trip would not be complete without visiting San Josè, the capital of Costa Rica, where students enjoyed dinner at the Mirador Tiquicia and were treated to a performance of traditional dance.
When reflecting about the trip, Watts recalls overhearing one of her students commenting that the trip was simply amazing, and that students had made memories and created bonds with people they never thought they would. Another student was overheard saying, the “memories will last forever, I miss the trip already, I wish I could go back.”
Students participating in the trip include Ally Barnes, Bryce Boyd, Margo Brooker, Kiandra Coon, Brianna Coyle, Hayley Curtsinger, Courtney Dearing, Kelly Deatherage, Lindsay Ellen, Jezreel Forand, Alex Hudson, Cole Isaacs, Dylan Klingensmith, Heather Myers, Jake Murray, Miquela Santoro.
Chaperoning the trip were Mary Watts, Cherie Brewer-Coon, Lynn Deatherage, Gretchen Myers, Tonia Ellen, and Angela Brazelton.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.