Wardlaw-Hartridge Students Make Difference in Service Trip to Peru


PERU -- Eleven students and three chaperones from The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison learned about culture, service and survival during an amazing experience on a two-week service learning trip to Peru. W-H continued its partnership with the World Leadership School, an organization that transforms learning and empowers young leaders.

“Our service learning program provides students with tremendous personal growth opportunities and with firsthand understanding how local leaders elsewhere address global issues that are important within their communities,” said Andrew Webster of Edison, Head of School.  “They learn how families live in very different circumstances than their own, and they take stock of what is truly important to them.  Whether in communicating to their host families, or hiking at high altitudes, or working with local NGOs, they discover problem-solving skills and inner resources that are not often demanded of them in their ordinary lives.”

The adventure provided many rewarding educational aspects, including a wonderful connection with native homestay families.

Sign Up for E-News

“I was able to connect so much with the people there, and they proved to me that money doesn’t buy happiness,” Alexandra Vargas of Dunellen said. “Everyone living there is so happy, and they make it seem like they have so much, when really compared to us, they have so little.”

The students discovered the beauty of the Peruvian culture while pushing themselves to physical and mental limits during a grueling 10-hour hike in the Andes mountains that Mr. Webster called the most physically exhausting day of his life.

“The hike was longer and more challenging than we anticipated,” Mr. Webster said. “I was deeply impressed by the stamina and resolve our students showed. For many of them, this may be the hardest physical challenge they have faced. But they pulled together and helped each other overcome it.”

Mr. Webster was joined by Megan Teller of Hightstown, Assistant Athletic Director, and Elizabeth Martin of South Plainfield, Middle School math teacher and Upper School head softball coach, as the chaperones.

The W-H group worked with local NGOs (non-government organizations) at Awamaki, Sacred Valley Health Clinic and the Kuska School. In addition to helping with English lessons, the W-H students put in some physical work at the Kuska School. They applied polyurethane to many stakes used to fence off their garden area, sanded them and pounded the stakes into the ground. They also dug post holes and poured cement for the posts in what will become a small shop that will be used to sell items the students produce.

Another group of students focused on preventative health, working with Sacred Valley Health Network. They spent time at a preschool to teach youngsters about hand washing and dental hygiene.

The trip also gave the students and chaperones the opportunity to visit many beautiful landmarks, including Ollantaytambo’s Sun Temple, the Sacred Valley, Qorikancha, Cusco Cathedral and the iconic Machu Picchu.

“Machu Picchu was breathtaking up close and we were able to see many native animals. We saw two llamas, a lizard and a chinchilla. We were also fortunate enough to learn a lot from our tour guide, Jimmy, who showed us pictures to further explain the information,” Emily Calderon of North Plainfield said.

There were tearful good-byes on the final day of the trip, which made the students appreciate what they had experienced and how they returned home with new perspectives on life.

“I miss the smells of food in the market and the laughter of children playing games on the street,” Alexandra said. “I know I have come back a different person, and I am grateful for everything I learned during my visit.”

“I have sent three sons on these trips and observed the experience of many others, and I recommend them very highly to all of our students because I have seen the permanent difference these experiences create in our students,” said Mr. Webster, who also attended the school’s inaugural service learning trip to Peru in 2012. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 2:30 PM

Canela Grocery and Deli, Plainfield

Canela Grocery to Host Healthy Corner Store Event

Food & Drink Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 9:00 AM

Plainfield High School, Plainfield

2018 Community Empowerment Expo


Sat, March 24, 10:15 AM

Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield

Easter Egg Hunt

Arts & Entertainment

Holy Savior Academy Storm Varsity Basketball News

The Holy Savior Academy Storm Varsity basketball team concluded a very successful season by capturing two championships over the weekend.  The Storm continued the basketball program’s winning ways when the team captured the school’s fourth consecutive Diocese of Metuchen CYM Varsity White Division Championship on its home court on Saturday evening.  The team then secured the ...

Union County to Host ‘Pledge and Protect’ Training Workshop for Older LGBTQ Adult Service Providers

March 23, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to host Garden State Equality’s ‘Pledge & Protect’ entry-level training workshop “Introductions to the Health Care Needs of the LGBTQ Population” free for organizations and professionals serving older LGBTQ adults.

Presented in collaboration with Union County’s Office of LGBTQ ...


March 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Retro Fitness in Manahawkin Calls Stafford Police to Remove Man for Praying for Another Member

March 21, 2018

STAFFORD, NJ - Retro Fitness club member and Long Beach Township resident Craig Fasler was escorted by a member of the Stafford Township Police Department out of the gym because an employee accused him of sharing his faith in public. 

TAPinto Stafford-LBI was contacted by a Stafford Township resident about the incident that took place on Wednesday, March 21 around ...

La tienda de comestibles Canela de Plainfield acogerá el evento de la tienda Healthy Corner

March 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - EZ Ride y la ciudad de Plainfield se han asociado una vez más con Canela Grocery and Deli para organizar un evento gratuito para los residentes que ofrece muestras gratis de bocadillos saludables, cupones, una rifa saludable de canastas e información nutricional. Atlantic Health también estará en el evento con una unidad móvil para proporcionar ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...