Lessons in Culture: the School-to-School Exchange Adventure Begins
By Brooke Bobela, School to School Exchange Teacher in Whitesboro High School in New York
On September 4th, 15 students and 2 teachers from Segovia, Spain arrived at Whitesboro High School to participate in the first Greenheart Travel School To School Exchange Program. These exchange students stayed with participating Whitesboro students and their families for almost three weeks. Students, faculty and members of the Whitesboro community built friendships and shared cultural traditions and lifestyles. Numerous activities were planned for our guests to showcase what makes living in central New York so unique. These local field trips included visits to the FX Matt Brewery, Munson Williams Proctor Institute, the Utica Library, North Star Orchards, Root Glen Nature center, the MOST in Syracuse, and the Farmers Museum and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
During their time at the high school, the Spanish students enjoyed the lessons and group activities that were planned by various teachers. Andrew Puckey arranged a literary exchange circle with his Advanced Placement English students and the Spanish students to discuss poetry by Spanish authors. Spanish students worked with other Whitesboro students in health classes to discuss the effects of stress on their lives. Josefina Rodriguez Saez and Pedro DeAndras, the two teachers from Segovia in charge of the group, brought the world language department books from Segovia, taught students how to make Spanish Tortilla Española, and performed a re‐enactment of the “Legend of the Segovian Acueduct”. Many thanks to the Family and Consumer Science department for teaching our guests how to make apple pies! Mrs. Gallagher, Mrs. Capecelatro and Mrs. Horn donated their time after school to teach the students how to make the pies. At the end of the lesson, each student had a homemade pie to bring to their host families!
A going away party at Valentino’s Banquet Hall in New Hartford concluded the visit. The friendships that were built over the course of the three week stay will last a lifetime.
Now it is our turn to travel! Whitesboro Exchange Program participants and their coordinator, will be departing for Segovia, Spain on November 12th to complete the exchange. They will be staying with the same families that traveled to Whitesboro for two weeks.