Bontrager to accompany WCHS students to Belize

Nikkel Mitchell
Staff Reporter

Whiteland Community High School has become full of extraordinary opportunities for students go on exotic vacations to places all around the world. Clark Pleasant Academy teacher Jill Bontrager has decided to take a total of 14 students on a seven day Belize extravaganza in the summer of 2019.

WCHS has offered many vacation options, whether it be Europe, Costa Rica, etc. There are also trips that go on without the school, but instead with Education First, or EF, tours, such as the Europe trip, which traveled to Italy, Greece, France, Spain, England, etc. This school year, the Belize trip will accept a total of ten students to attend, and then another four next year.

The cost of the trip per student is a total of $2,750, and that covers all of the traveling, the many exhilarating activities and three meals a day. Attendees will only need to bring money to purchase souvenirs and to tip the tour guides.

Junior Emma Kirchmeyer has decided to attend this Belize trip, and feels very enthusiastic about the trip and the price.

“I feel like this is the best price for the trip; it’s less than what you would spend on if you did it all by yourself. You just need to pay for your passport and have your spending money in hand. Everything is paid for other than that,” Kirchmeyer said.

Although there are many school sponsored trips through WCHS, like the 2017 trip to Europe, the 2019 Belize trip is not one of them. Usually, with a school trip, there would have to be authorization from WCHS but instead, Bontrager has chosen to take the students and travel with EF tours.

“I did not have to get authorization for this trip because it is not a school sponsored trip. I am choosing to travel with students on this educational trip on my own. That being said, I did discuss this beforehand with Ms. Groce, our Student Services Coordinator at the academy, because she also travels with EF,” Bontrager said.

Attendees may find themselves using the donations link that will be supplied to them to get donations when the time gets closer to the trip, or the group that will be attending this trip will get the opportunity for a fundraising event at least once before the trip begins.

“Students earn money for the trip in a variety of ways. One, they can get a part-time job to save money or use their fund-raising link that is provided by EF Tours to obtain donations,” Bontrager said.

Kirchmeyer is looking forward the experience of exploring Belize right after high school.

“I am really happy; I get to go somewhere right before college. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and anyone else to go see a different country. I really hope more people become inspired to do this,” Kirchmeyer said.

The trip has many different transportation opportunities. The group will fly to Belize the first day and meet with their tour guide and get settled into where they’re staying. They will then utilize a few other forms of transportation, such as water taxis, motor coaches and boats to get around on the vacation. Once in Belize, there are many different activities set up for the attendees, such as zip lining, snorkeling, hiking and exploring the different ruins.

On the second day, the group will travel by boat to the New River Lagoon to tour the Lamanai Ruins and to visit the Old Sugar Mill. They will then travel to the Cayo Region to enjoy cave tubing, take a guided jungle survival hike, and then zipline on the third day. They will then turn right around and visit the Xunantunich Ruins that are in San Jose Succotz, Belize. They will pay a visit to the Chaa Creek Natural History Museum, and visit a local school.

On the fifth day, they travel to Belize City and visit the Belize Zoo.

They will travel by water taxi to Ambergris Caye to start off their sixth and final day where they will Snorkel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, explore on their own, or Snuba, which is a mix of scuba diving and snorkeling.

Finally, after a week of exciting adventuring and thrilling activities, day seven will be spent returning back home to Indiana via airplane.

Once this enchanting vacation is over, the attendees will hopefully learn something new about the culture and the scenery.

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