(Image courtesy Smith Leadership Academy)
A handful of Dorchester middle school students recently got to go on the trip of a lifetime as they visited Africa with fellow classmates from the Smith Leadership Academy.
Seven students joined teachers on the February trip to Senegal, traveling around the country, taking in the culture, and experiencing a life much different than their own.
“We wanted them to see another world,” said Paula Coar-Gueye, who runs the school’s after-school program and led the trip.
Although the trip is a part of the school’s push to have students beef up their resumes for college applications, Coar-Gueye said it’s also important for her students, most of whom are African-American, to see a culture they came from.
“I wanted to expose them to a culture that in some sense was taken away from them,” said Coar-Gueye. “I wanted them to see how we were and how we are different.”
Visiting local schools, bartering in open air markets, and taking trips to historical sites, students traveled around the West African country for close to 10 days.
This was fifth trip the private charter school has led for the students.
“We need to travel and see what people do and what they look like,” said Coar-Gueye. “Traveling opens up our mind and allows us to see rich cultures.”