Senior Serivce in Belize

Seven Seniors give up their spring break to go down to Belize to serve a local Catholic Elementary School


Students embark on a service trip journey down to Punta Gorda, Belize

Ryan Moore, Editor-in-Chief

*Edit: Trip has been postponed due to coronavirus outbreak*

Seven Seniors and two faculty members are traveling to Punta Gorda, Belize over spring break March 15 – 22 to give a week of service.

“I have only traveled inside the U.S. from the furthest northwest to the furthest southeast so an opportunity to go to a whole different continent is exciting,” senior Edward Sowash said. “I want to learn about a new culture, place, and people that I have no previous knowledge or relationship with.”

Seniors Ryan Moore, Justin Rothermich, Edward Sowash, Alex Stratmann, Alex Polt, Sam Traina, and Daniel Evans are doing service at St. Benedict R.C. School which is a catholic elementary school.

“One of the things you begin to realize is the things in your life you don’t think are that big of a deal that are huge blessings to have,” Trip organizer John Hawkey said. “When we are in our environment we become numb to our own gifts in life and I think this trip is a way for us to back up and realize how lucky we are.”

Seniors have been venturing down to this third world country to give themselves to these communities for over 35 years. St. Benedict R.C. School is a newer sight which De Smet has been working with since 2008.

“We have had a close relationship with these communities for decades,” Hawkey said. “I remember going down [to Belize] when I was a senior in the 90s for my service trip and loved it.”

Punta Gorda is a small fishing community of only 5,000 where the average income is only $420 a month, about half of the national average of $800.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see how people in a different country that’s so foreign to me live,” Rothermich said. “I am really looking forward to not only helping this community but seeing what I can learn from them and how they live their own lives.”

This trip is available every year for seniors who want to participate. They are encouraged to go down with no expectations and help and interact with those they meet.

“Realize you are going to get more out of it than they are going to get from you,” Hawkey said. “You are there for a week. You cannot change the world. Because of this be open to experiences and be open to all the families, teachers, and kids that you meet.”