Kent Place Students Redefine Spring Break with Global Service Learning & Leadership Trips

April 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Close to 30 Kent Place Middle and Upper School students chose to spend their Spring Break this March entrenched in meaningful service projects, cultural immersion and leadership learning both domestically and internationally. The trips offered this year were Tanzania, China and Washington, D.C. Kent Place faculty and staff served as chaperones.

Kent Place partnered with the World Leadership School (WLS) and offered a return travel, service and leadership-building opportunity in Tanzania, Africa. The travel team spent a full work week at Kent Place’s partner school in Sanya Juu, the Faraja Primary School, building a storage unit that will now support the school and its students with physical disabilities. In addition to spending time with the students, the Tanzania travel team explored the cities of Moshi and Arusha, which sit at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, experienced a safari tour of the Ngorongoro Crater and participated in the Maasai culture.

Olivia Peterson ’16 and Kathleen Brody ’15 described a particular moment through their trip’s travel blog: “After lunch, we went to a community of women who had their own micro-financing business. Their perspective on leadership and community was very inspiring because they focused on how women, with the support of proper education, are capable of doing anything they set their mind to. After tea, we returned to our house and discussed the characteristics of leaders. Our personality reports, which every one of us filled out, were used to reveal the leader in all of us.”

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Kent Place partnered with WildChina to offer Chinese-language learners and other interested students the opportunity to experience a three-city (Beijing, Xian and Shanghai) immersion adventure. The China travel team visited the Forbidden City, where they designed and flew their own kites, explored the Great Wall of China and the Summer Palace, had a dumpling cooking lesson from a local farmer, practiced tai chi at the Temple of Heaven and saw the Terra Cotta Warriors, among many other exciting outings.

Junior Erin Romano describes one particular day on the trip, “In the market near the Temple of Heaven, I was challenged to use the Mandarin I learned on the trip. Because I am a student who doesn’t take Chinese, I thought they would never understand me. However with some help from my friends, I was able to communicate with the merchants and purchase what we needed.” Erin continues, “We bought a basket there to bring to a local community center, where we made bookmarks and bracelets with people who had learning disabilities.”

Kent Place administrators and faculty created a customized “Leadership Tour” of our Nation’s Capital with Global Youth Leadership Institute (GYLI). The 5-day, 4-night motor coach tour designed specifically for our Middle School students, included visits to monuments, museums and government buildings, guest lectures from Robin Sproul, chief of the ABC News Washington Bureau, ABC news reporter Martha Raddatz and NASA engineer/scientist Ezine Uzo-Okoro, and individual leadership building workshops. The students toured Georgetown University with Kent Place alumna Maggie Skinner ’05 and participated in a workshop at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership. At the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the Washington travel team worked to reinforce a wall from one out of the five locks from the canal. In addition to meeting Skinner, the Middle Schoolers met a number of other Kent Place alumnae during their trip, who spoke about their career paths and how Kent Place has helped them achieve their goals.

Eighth graders Eva Melendes and Julia Mustaro summarized their favorite moments on their Washington, D.C. blog: “This trip has been amazing! Each day was packed with fun activities and many great opportunities. From listening to the women who worked at the Department of State to doing community service at Great Falls to experiencing the pirate exhibit at the National Geographic location, we have been very busy!” 

To learn in more detail about each trip, please visit:

On issues ranging from the environment to politics to culture, Kent Place students go beyond global awareness to action. The Global Service Learning Initiative is an opportunity to use the world as a living classroom and to explore new cultures with traditions and customs that stand in great contrast to our own. For more information about our Global Education programs, please visit,


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