Milton Hershey School Students Explore Panama on International STEM Trip
While some students study the Panama Canal and see the pictures in textbooks, 27 Milton Hershey School students had the opportunity of a lifetime-exploring it for themselves during a recent international trip through the school’s Multicultural and Global Education program.
This trip was of particular significance to students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and involved project-based learning which encouraged the travelers to create solutions to open-ended challenges.
During the STEM-focused tour, students learned about the importance of the wetlands, why they are endangered, and how to preserve them. They saw monkeys, snakes, sloths, and other exotic wildlife in their natural habitat and participated in hands-on fieldwork studies with local biologists.
A highlight of the trip for MHS students was getting an up-close look at the coral reefs during a snorkeling expedition. For junior Celeste Delarosa, this experience was much more than just learning about the animals.
“This trip really got me out of my comfort zone. I learned how to deal with danger and fear of being in the open water,” added Celeste. “The new friends I made on this trip and the chaperones helped me feel safe. Swimming with stingrays was definitely memorable!”
The hands-on experiential learning continued when MHS students worked with biologists on a wetlands conservation project focused on mangrove reforestation.
“After a boat ride to islands where mangroves grow, we picked seeds and replanted them. It was great to do our small part in the conservation efforts,” added Celeste. “Panama gave us so much during this week, it is special that MHS was able to give back to the country that was so friendly and welcoming to us.”
For MHS senior Annalise-Victoria Michener, this was her first international trip and an opportunity to explore a new culture and the complex ecosystems.
“Trips like this are important for high schoolers because we often have such small perspectives, we don’t always see the struggles of other people,” said Annalise-Victoria. “An international trip helps to appreciate what we have.”
The goal of the MHS Multicultural and Global Education program is to help students gain a better understanding of themselves and different cultures. Students build strong character and increase their global awareness. Each trip empowers students on an academic, social, and emotional level.