Eighth Grade Service Learning

In February, Synergy’s eighth-grade class traveled to Puerto Rico for a week of service-learning with Global Works. This class trip was our first class trip out of California since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Our trip was an experience that we will never forget. As a class, we looked forward to our 8th grade trip for years, and it exceeded all of our expectations.

      We arrived in Puerto Rico and got our luggage, then we took a bus to the Big Yellow House and had some pizza and met our Global Works guides. We explored the house and settled in. The next day, we visited the historical landmarks in Old San Juan. We explored forts, wildlife, and a church. We ate lunch in a restaurant, where we had delicious and authentic Puerto Rican food.

     The following day, we took a long bus ride to the rolling rainforest hills, “Eye on the Rainforest,” where we had a  beautiful view of the Caribbean and wildlife. We worked trimming trees and breaking down an old wooden stage. After working hard, we returned to the Big Yellow House and went swimming at the nearby beach.

     On our third day, we met Global Works leaders, William and Angel, and we helped to rebuild the roof of William’s house that was damaged in Hurricane Maria. We shoveled materials and carried them up to the roof to the cement mixer. We even had the opportunity to lay cement. We worked on that site for three days before it was time to go home.

    On our final day, we went souvenir shopping and had one last adventure on our rainforest hike, during which we swam, hiked through the mud, and had fun with the rope swing. We went to a new place to stay, and after night fell, we went to a bioluminescent bay to do some night kayaking and stargazing. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The next day, we packed our bags before heading to the airport. Once we landed in Houston, we had to run to our next flight and arrived in San Francisco late at night.

    Being in Puerto Rico was a fantastic learning experience for all of us. We learned so many new skills, and it was an eye-opening experience. The family we worked with was welcoming and cooked us a delicious lunch. Working and living alongside each other, we all became closer and learned new things about each other. Meeting new people and learning how to work with building materials in a tropical climate was a rare and lucky experience.

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