As a school, we understand that it's important for students to learn about their world through exploration and travel. Because of this, Wakefield offers a number of international educational programs every year. For example, over the summer, Upper School students and faculty spent three weeks exploring the Peruvian wilderness. The weeks were spent researching indigenous animals, canoeing, hiking, fishing, and visiting villages; all while staying at Tahuayo Lodge, a lodge and research center. Check out the video below.Below are other educational international programs that Wakefield has recently offered:
During the summer of 2015, a group of Wakefield students and faculty travelled to our partner school, St. Stephens College in Coomera, Australia. We spent the first part of our journey at a leadership development program at Bunya National Forest. Our students participated in an outdoor experiential leadership program learning about a wide variety of activities, such as exploring the Bunya Mountains, environmental education, and ethics. Following our time at the leadership retreat, we spent a week at St. Stephens College. Our students visited classes and stayed with Australian host families. Aside from the many learning opportunities, students also visited Brisbane, explored the Currumban Wildlife Sanctuary, and attended an Australian Football League game.
Wakefield School is once again very excited to participate in a student leadership development program this summer (2016) in Australia. St. Stephen’s College in Coomera, Australia, has invited up to 10 of our students to participate in their program dedicated to leadership and personal development in both large-and-small group settings. Much of the program will take place off campus in the nearby Bunya Mountains, with students living in chalets. They will select a series of electives around a host of topics dedicated to leadership development. Two Wakefield faculty members will accompany students throughout the journey.
We are indeed fortunate to have this opportunity to travel to Australia and partner with St. Stephen’s College. The school is an Anglican high school that was founded in 1996 and is located in Queensland, near Brisbane and on Australia’s Gold Coast. Despite its being called a “college”, St. Stephen’s is, in fact, a high school (one among many differences between our two nations!) The school’s values and mission are very much in alignment with Wakefield School. A quotation from their website sums up their philosophy quite nicely: “The College community values maturity and integrity as the hallmarks of character-based leadership.” Following the leadership program, students will spend a few days visiting St. Stephen’s College learning about Australian education and culture. The visit will include home-stays with Australian families.
Wakefield School has unique opportunities for our students, generally made possible through relationships developed with our faculty, parents, trustees, and alumni of Wakefield.
Wakefield School works with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia, Africa in a one-of-a-kind wildlife conservation management effort. The most recent visit was during our 2018 Discovery Days and Spring Break.
Students from Wakefield have the opportunity to visit the CCF in Namibia to work hand-in-hand with scientists on conservation efforts. This opportunity offers our students the potential for senior thesis topics in areas of cheetah management, predator/prey management, Namibian culture, and others we have yet to uncover.
For more information on the Cheetah Conservation Fund, please visit their website.
Below is an account from 9th Grade Wakefield student, Graeme:
Africa was truly a trip that I will remember for the rest of my life. I learned all about the cheetah and how it prefers an open environment, but with bits of cover. I also learned that cheetahs hunt their animals by running as fast as they can then swiping at their prey severing their achilles tendon. They told us that cheetahs, like all cats, are very picky eaters and don’t eat meat that has any sand of dirt on it. Cheetahs only eat above the legs of their prey. I learned that cheetah babies have a gray streak down their back that makes them look like honey badgers. This keeps predators away because a honey badger can kill a fully-grown male lion. Cheetahs don’t mate for life. Instead cheetahs only meet when it is mating season, and then the male leaves once the babies are born. Cheetahs are also on the brink of being critically endangered.
On the safari, we saw four female lions feasting on an oryx carcass while a spotted hyena tried to steal food. One of the lions chased him off, but he still tried to grab bits of food. We also saw a male lion sleeping just before sunset, showing us the schedule of lions, and proving that the kings of Africa are really just like a teenager during the summer; only waking up to eat and sleeping for the rest of the day. We learned all about what kinds of species in Africa are critically endangered like the caracel along with the white rhino and the black rhino. We also witnessed how animals establish their dominance, even if it’s a zebra pushing away springboks or a bird singing to mark its territory. This taught me many things that will help me later in life if I want to pursue a career in animal behavior or veterinary medicine.
Besides the biological experience, I learned a lot about another culture. We saw tribal people and learned about their daily practices. For example, when we were in Etosha, I saw a tribal woman who had red skin from the neck down. She wasn’t wearing a top and our guide explained that females of that tribe don’t take normal showers with water. Instead they burn incense leaves and bath themselves in the smoke and the leaves smell nice. So, it’s like taking a shower and applying perfume at the exact same time. We also learned about the history of Namibia. I also found the currency very interesting. The currency in Namibia is called the Rand or Namibian dollars. Namibian dollars and Rand have the same value in Namibia, but Rand converts to more US dollars than Namibian dollars.
This leads me to talk about my sponsorship of a cheetah in the Cheetah Conservation Fund. I did this because I was so grateful that I got this scholarship and I wanted to give something back. So, I raised $1200 to sponsor a cheetah. This converted to nearly $18,264 Namibian dollars in total. They were very happy to receive this donation. The cheetah I sponsored was a female named Harry. Harry is eight years old. I chose Harry because she seemed like a free thinker because she grabbed the handkerchief when it was on the contraption and she dragged it under a tree. This was the exercise they had the cheetahs do so they could stay fit. It took them 30 minutes to fix the contraption because it didn’t work after she stole the handkerchief. This made everyone laugh, so she seemed like a great choice. I plan to call the Cheetah Conservation so that I can sponsor another cheetah called Phil.
This experience has been the experience of a lifetime and I will never forget the adventure that I undertook. I am so grateful to Wakefield for giving me this amazing opportunity. It increased my knowledge and love for Africa’s wildlife. My view of the world will forever be changed by this incredible experience.
During Ski Week 2016, a small group of Wakefield students and parents, accompanied by
faculty member Teresa Duke traveled to Belize and Guatemala for a nine day trip that highlighted the rich cultural, historic, and geographic features of the two countries. During their first four days in Belize the group enjoyed zip lining over the rainforest canopy, tubing and canoeing through underground cave systems, and hiking to the top of the ancient Mayan city of Xunantunich. In Guatemala, they visited the Unesco World Heritage site of Tikal National Forest, camping out the first night on the grounds of an ancient Mayan observatory, and then venturing deep into the jungle to Uaxactun, a unique biosphere. The emphasis on ecotourism meant no cell phone coverage, a solar powered lodge that went black at 10 p.m., and a renewed appreciation for the natural world. Back in Belize City, the group hopped a short flight to Ambergris Caye where they spent three days relaxing beachside and experiencing some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean. Some of the most memorable moments included waking to the sounds of howler monkeys in the night, having two wonderful meals prepared by a local Guatemalan chef, snorkeling with nurse sharks and rays, and being in the company of two knowledgeable Mayan guides who shared their civic pride and passion for their heritage.
Wakefield School students recently traveled to Spain over their 2018 Discovery Days and Spring Break. Here is an account from chaperone and spanish teacher Marleny Sepúlveda González. She writes, “On our recent trip to Spain we visited the cities of Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada. We wondered at the beauty of unique and magnificent baroque structures of stone and mortar which were built centuries before, as well as narrow serpentine streets often leading to plazas containing ornate fountains. We also observed craftsmen fashioning objects for art and utilitarian use. We visited the Jewish Synagogue in Cordoba transformed into St. Mary’s Synagogue and a famous Mosque re-named the Cathedral Mosque.
One of the highlights of our trip was the flamenco evening in Sevilla. It is considered one of the best shows in the world, presented in an elegant theater in Spain. For two hours we were mesmerized by this unique art form, a mixture of gypsy and Andalusian culture strongly influenced by the Arabic culture, filled with sentiment and possibly inspired by the great José Greco. Flamenco originated from the persecution of Andalusian moors and gypsies during the reign of the Catholic Kings. One of the main objectives of this traveling experience was to provide our students with a more in depth understanding of what they had learned in the classroom."