This time last month, instead of sitting in air-conditioned classrooms, 18 Lower Merion High School students were wielding pickaxes, pumping water and digging holes in 95-degree heat. The "Haiti 18," along with a few administrators that included LMHS social studies teacher Tom Reed and district communications director Doug Young, traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti, on May 12 to spend two weeks building a school.
The team was made up of members of the LMHS chapter of community service group buildOn, who were selected for buildOn's Trek For Knowledge cultural immersion trip in November.
Through some creative fundraising efforts, the "Trekkies" surpassed their $66,000 goal to raise $70,000 for their Trek. The funds helped to pay for materials, construction, in-country skilled labor, and international program management, according to the buildOn website.
Patch caught up with the team a few weeks after their return, on the day of LMHS graduation. Although everyone was busy saying goodbye to the graduating seniors of the group, a few Trekkies took some time out of their farewell party to chat with Ardmore Patch.
The gallery above includes:
- A short video featuring Trekkies Leslie Rothstein, Nancy Wu and Charlotte Smith, who talk about what it was like to work with the community, how it felt to wield a pickaxe, and the impact of the trip
- A short video featuring buildOn faculty sponsor Tom Reed and buildOn development director Skyler Badenoch, who share their experiences and impressions of the LMHS students who participated in Trek
- A video created by members of the Trek team, which includes photos of their trip
- Photos of the team in Haiti, provided by Reed
"We plan on raising another $35,000 next year to pay for the construction costs of a second school for the community of Taverne," Reed said.