Guatemala 2018 (pictures below)

Day 5

Today after breakfast we helped to build the new addition to the school again. Similar to Monday we moved over 500 concrete cinderblocks across the school grounds past stray chickens and wooden statues of Mary and father Gregory. We also moved about 40 bags of sand and helped spread out the giant mounds of dirt to help create the foundation of the new addition. Since it’s the dry season here, with every shovel of dirt came a tornado of dust. We carried buckets of water to put on the dirt to fix this issue. That concludes our work week since it is Holy Week and nobody works during the holy days. In the afternoon we ventured to a local turf soccer field and played for about an hour under the hot sun. Pj had six goals. After dinner we went to the market to look at the soccer jerseys and played basketball in the pouring rain with the locals at the city center.
- Jack Horst

Day 4

Today for breakfast we had beans, eggs, and buns. Today our work consisted of moving rocks, which easily weighed more than 25 lbs.  We quickly decided to make 3 different assembly lines that made the moving of rocks easier. We also had to move 3 different piles of small rocks. To make this easier we filled up buckets and “costales” (bags that are hand woven). The work we did today contributed to build a patio for the coffee project. The extra patio will allow the people to have more space for drying coffee beans. After our work, we had lunch and decided to climb a volcano. It was a long, steep climb but our guide Gato made things easier for us. Once at the top we took a ton of pictures and carved some of our names into nearby trees. We then walked back down the mountain and got a ride from our drivers back to the hotel. After some rest we had dinner which was also followed by more free time in order to explore San Lucas and recuperate for tomorrow’s work. We are doing well and nobody has gotten sick, so we have that going for us.
- Klever Puma and Joe Goulet

Day 3

To start the day the group woke up around 7:00 and headed to breakfast. All awkwardly walking due to sun burn we went to the school ran by the mission after breakfast. Once we got there we were immediately put to work having to dig rocks out of the ground to clear space for the foundation of a new building. While working we were serenaded by school children playing their trumpets and xylophones. After clearing all the rocks we went to the front of the school yard to unload bricks and carry them back. Their were 500 bricks total but it felt like a lot more. Finally done we were all tired and had aching arm muscles from having to carry so many bricks. We were dismissed from working and headed to lunch with the satisfaction of helping local construction workers.
- Vince Hubbell
After lunch, the group loaded up in pickup trucks and headed to the women’s center of San Lucas Toliman. We were shown the daily activities many women living in those conditions participate in. First, we saw how corn tortillas were made, and we were able to participate in the process of grinding the corn, making tortillas from the paste, and cooking them. Next we were shown how the daily laundry was cleaned. It was an arduous task to clean all of a families clothes, and seeing this was an eye-opening experience for people who are used to just running a washing machine. Next we were shown how the women carry baskets of laundry on their heads. After that, we played pick-up soccer on a turf field with two local men named Jaime and Carlos. It was a lot of fun. We had to walk back, and myself and three other guys decided to chip in for a taxi, which was like no other vehicle I had ever been in. It was a three-wheeled cart looking vehicle with no doors. Once everyone was back at the hotel, we were all tired, so we didn’t do much at night. It was a fun day overall.
-Charlie Vick

Day 2
We began our day today by waking up at 6:45 and heading to mass. It was very different and interesting because it was entirely in Spanish and lasted an hour and forty minutes, something most cadets aren’t used to. After that we ate and exchanged US Dollars to Quetzales. We took boats over to two touristy cities called Santiago and Panajachel, where we got to see the markets where we could buy souvenirs, and a church of a recently canonized saint. After we returned some cadets went across the city to play a game of soccer before we ate dinner. After that we walked around the city before returning for reflection. 

Jack Libbs, Lucas Sampair, and George Budzius

Day 1:

¡Hola parents!
As you know we all left early in the morning and arrived in Guatemala City at 1:00 p.m. From that point we took a bus straight to Pollo Campero for our final somewhat American meal. Following lunch, groups jumped back into the busses for a 4 hour bus ride and great opportunity to see the beautiful views Guatemala had to offer. We arrived in San Lucas at about 6:00 p.m., checked into our hotel, ate dinner, and headed to the park to play basketball with the locals. We then came back and hung out and got a much needed night of rest.
On Saturday, we woke up at 7 de la mañana and went to breakfast. From there we went onto the back of a pickup truck to take a tour of the mission sites (the women's center, the hospital, the school, and the coffee processing building). Next, we got into our swim suits and hiked off to the rock outcropping to dive into the lake. The hike was cool, but the 12ish foot drop was muy divertido. We came back for dinner and then had time to explore the town freely. The locals are very inviting and friendly. One man, Kevin, loved helping us practice our Spanish along with learning english as well.  
Can't wait for what the week holds ahead!
- Joey Motzel, Emmet Adam, Alex Kuntz

Student Travel Opportunities

Academy teachers host a number of student trips every year. These trips bring a deeper dimension to the classroom experience.

Italy 2018 student trip 

STA student trip to Italy planned for June 2018. The cost per student is $4,605 - this includes airfare, transportation, hotel, breakfasts and dinners, and 12 guided sightseeing tours during the stay.  This is a private customized tour just for STA & VIS students.

If you are at all interested, please contact Mr. Taraschi for details or questions. Or just enroll online - click here.

Costa Rica 2018 student trip

The dates are July 5 to July 15, 2018, with 8 days in the rain forest and 2 days on the beach.  There is an opportunity for Independent Study credit associated with this trip.  If you have any questions, please contact Sonya Jaworski at