Alternative Spring Break hits three destinations

Gabriel Nair, Anne Walkup, and Emma Knudson

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Bend

By Gabriel Nair

The group that went to Bend, Ore. was focused on the theme of environment and conservation.

Students helped the forest service with forest restoration, trail maintenance, and river clean up.

“It was fun, the [forest service] were very informative and wanted to teach us about their work and how it is important to keep the forest sustainable and preserved,” Jesus Perez, ’19, said.

“It was really neat to spend time in the Deschutes National Forest as I had never been there and it allows you to disconnect from the daily busyness of life,” Jennifer Moranchel, ’18, said. “You can tell that the people of Bend are very outdoorsy and really value working to preserve their natural areas.”

One of the side-benefits of the trip was getting to know the other people on the trip.

Both Perez and Moranchel spoke highly about the chance to get to know people that they normally would not interacted with.

“It’s a great way to get involved and serve the community.When you’re working with a diverse group of students towards a common goal, you find common ground and that allows you to bond in even the shortest amount of time and make some good friends,” Moranchel said.

Moranchel also broached the topic of the future of the environment.

“Meeting people like Tom Walker (Fisheries Biologist, US Forest Service), who are really passionate about their job and do everything they can to make the situation better, it gets you pumped about partaking and contributing to the movement,” Moranchel said.

The trip would not have been possible without Noah Berg, ’18, who was the trip coordinator.

For the past three years, the environment and conservation trip has typically gone to Alaska. But this year, Berg made the decision to change the location not only to make the trip more cost-effective, but also so that the trip would have an impact on a nearby community.

“Coordinating with several different organizations was tricky” but, Berg said, “It also laid the groundwork for future trips to continue work with the Forest Service in Bend, having a more locally focused trip is great for Linfield.”

Oakland

By Anne Walkup

It’s not every day that a kindergartner corrects your math.

Senior Beatriz Rendon Bautista, who participated in Linfield’s ASB program in Oakland, Calif., was surprised and humored when a six-year-old “corrected” the way she solved a math problem.

Bautista and a group of eight other students who participated in the program this year spent their week helping teachers at Grant Elementary School with various classroom activities.

A former alumnus currently teaches at Grant Elementary and served as a connection for the trip.

Adrian Hammond, who went on the trip as the faculty advisor, said that the students’ work included helping with reading assignments, math games, art projects, and even helping the elementary students build models of earthquake-secure buildings.

“What struck everyone was that we were the ones learning so much from these kids, seeing the way they think and conceptualize at such a young age,” Hammond said.

Some students also noticed that some of the elementary children seemed to lack support from their families regarding their studies.

Kelly Schultz, who served as the student leader for the trip, said she got the opportunity to work closely with a second grade girl.

Schultz said it soon became apparent that the girl seemed discouraged in her learning and said she didn’t receive help at home.

“At the end of the week she gave me a card she had made and told me how nobody had been as nice to her as I had,” Schultz said.

While helping a child who was struggling with a reading assignment, Bautista said the child told her that he could’t read because his dad had told him he couldn’t learn.

“It broke my heart. It opened my eyes to the fact that some kids aren’t supported in their education. Everyone comes from a different background and sometimes [students] don’t get support at home. School is a place where you can make a difference,” Bautista said.

Gulf Coast of Mexico

By Emma Knudson

A select few Linfield students traded their swimsuits for work boots this spring break as they traveled to the Gulf of Mexico to repair houses ravaged by hurricanes, as part of Linfield’s ASB volunteer program.

Every year, three destinations are offered to the student body to apply for, all centered around giving back to the community: one in Oregon, one a little further away (this year it was California), and one even further away, like Alaska. A small handful of students applied for and participated in the Gulf of Mexico program.

Freshman McKenna Musser not only acquired an enlightened perception on the aftermath of natural disasters, but also gained some handyman prowess along the way.

“I learned so many different skills on the trip, including how to take out a ceiling, put up sheet rock, mud the sheet rock, and how to apply the texture to the walls,” Musser said. “I also got to see the reality of the damage the hurricane had on the area. It was pretty eye-opening to realize how the families had to live after the hurricane and it really inspired me while we were in the process of repairing the house.”

Sophomore Carmen Chasse echoed this sentiment, saying, “This trip taught me that I’m capable of more than I realize, and I think the same is true for other participants on the trip. I have no idea how to build a house, but I still figured it out.”

It wasn’t easy for the participants in the beginning, however, yet the camaraderie of the small team became their strength as they pursued each day with purpose.

“In the beginning we were just given tools and told to go for it, which was intimidating because we didn’t want someone to have to fix our work. We all worked together really well and made the best of every situation,” Chasse said.

The experience in League City, Texas wasn’t all work, as the group fostered a close bond whilst completing the minimum required 30 hours of volunteering together.

“By the second day, people who rarely talked were chatting up a storm and we all were cracking jokes and making fun of each other. We still have a Snapchat group chat going strong,” Musser said.

The participants also had fun staying in a unique place, where they stayed 15 minutes from their worksite in Dickinson. “We actually stayed in these super cool metal train carts that had the words ‘Orphan Grain Train’ on the side, which were set up in the parking lot of a Gloria Dei Church. We got a kick out of that!” Musser said.

Chasse recalls how their trip ended with a bang. “We were able to go to NASA which was such a cool thing to see, and the perfect way to end our trip.”

And upon reflecting about her experience through the ASB program, she and Musser both concurred that it was a life-changing experience.

“Doing service down in Texas helped those who needed their homes rebuilt, but it also changes our lives as cheesy as that sounds,” Chasse said.

“Giving your time to helping those in need is a really great experience, and in ASB you have fun while doing it!” Musser said.

“ASB is such a rewarding experience, and a nice break from school. Even though its hard physical work, there’s no time to think about anything school related which was great for me mentally. You grow close with your group and get to help out and learn about a new community, which is something I think everyone should experience at least once,” Chasse said.

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Alternative Spring Break hits three destinations