An adventure in Peru

30 HWRHS students and teachers spend April vacation abroad.


Mr. Hickey

Machu Pichuu, April 2017.

Have you ever dreamed of seeing new places, learning about and experiencing different cultures, meeting new people and helping different communities?

Our school provides a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore the diversity of Peru and experience the lessons from Spanish classes firsthand. You can explore Machu Picchu, Lima, Cuzco, visit Inca communities, try new foods and see different cultures.

I think this trip will be especially interesting because we’re going to learn about the culture and we get to help the community there.

— Erica Luo

This year a group of students and teachers are going to Peru for ten days.  They will leave this Wednesday, April 10th, a few days before April vacation because it takes a full day of traveling to get to Peru and a full day to get back. There is a total of 30 teachers and students going to Peru.

The trip will be led by Ms. Sano, the 6-12 Foreign Language Curriculum Coordinator, who organizes the trip each year and accompanied by Principal Tracy, Ms. Borges, the 6-12 History Curriculum Coordinator, and Mr. Jones, a Spanish teacher at the high school.  The following students will be on this year’s trip: Emma Bernhardt, Charlotte Bernhardt, Margaret Brown, Sofia Cassidentio, Alli Chapdelaine, Grace Condon, Gabriella Cooper, Caroline Dent, Isabelle Dolan, Gwyneth Fitzpatrick, Thomas Flynn, Alexander Johnson, Broderick Kelly, Erica Luo, Eliza Meahl, Virginia Nostrand, Haley Rivers, Madison Rivers, Katherine Rubel, Connor Ryan, Jemma Shea, Bryn Smith, Sophia Szady, Sarah Traverse, Christopher Tsouvalas, and Emily Vanderwilden.

Mr. Hickey
Lily Wainwright playing with a student, April 2017.

On the Peru trip, which occurs every other year during April break, students are able to have firsthand experiences with the different communities and people who live in Peru. Each trip, student volunteers help clean up a school. When asked about the community service work that students do, she said that typically the walls are painted, floors sanded and classroom cleaned up. Our school also brings gently used clothes for both adults and children, new school supplies and backpacks.

To see the faces of these kids who get a brand new backpack from us and school supplies is pretty great.

— Ms. Sano

Mr. Hickey
Students cleaning and painting classrooms, April 2017.

Gwyneth Fitzpatrick, a junior, said, “I’m most excited to meet the kids and do the service work at their school. I, of course, am also very excited to visit Machu Picchu. “

Mr. Hickey
A girl opening her backpack and finding clothes and toys, April 2017.

This trip first started a few years after 9/11. Before that, there had been trips to Spain. After 9/11, our school did not offer a trip to Spain or anywhere else, so parents started asking about school trips.  As a result, a trip to Peru was planned. This was because not many students travel to Peru or South America with their families, while many families travel to Europe.

Mr. Hickey
A local woman spinning yarn, April 2017.

The first trip was rushed trying to get to every location; they visited Lima, Cusco, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon. Each year after they had a different schedule visiting different places, but always going to Machu Picchu. Ms. Sano explained, “The curriculum comes to life and gives you an appreciation and gets you excited about it. Culture in South America is very different and amazing. Traveling to South America . . . has a big impact on students who go.”

Peruvian cuisine, April 2017.

This year the trip is focused on exploring the city of Cusco and Machu Picchu; it is at a more relaxed pace, so students can take in the experience and beauty. This opportunity opens kids’ minds by being able to live and experience it instead of just hearing and reading about it in class.

Erica Luo, another junior visiting Peru, explained that she learned about the trip when she was in elementary school. She said, “I remember the high schoolers visiting Winthrop when I was younger, so that was when I first heard about the trip. I’ve also always wanted to visit Machu Picchu because it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. When I was a freshman, I came across the school Instagram account and saw all the pictures they posted from the trip. I thought the trip seemed really cool based on that.”

Mr. Hickey
Leaving Hamilton-Wenham early in the morning, April 2017.

You can follow this year’s trip on Instagram @hwmrtravels19 as students explore the diversity of Peru, the beauty of Machu Picchu, and the fulfillment of helping others. As Eric Luo stated,I think this trip will be especially interesting because we’re going to learn about the culture and we get to help the community there.”