By Jamie Gilbert, Maddie Mason, Mendy Harris
From zip-lining through rain-forests to soaking in the sun on a private beach, STEM students experience new adventures while traveling to the foreign country of Costa Rica over spring break.
“Costa Rica just happened to offer nine of the most amazing ecosystems and tours, which the students were able to experience everything from the beach to highest mountains of the country,” STEM coordinator Carl Tilson said. The students tour sites and learn about the biodiversity that Costa Rica offers. “The students were able to tour several introductions to rainforests, which are really small rainforests with trails built through them. They were able to experience different locations across Costa Rica. They were also able to have some fun and do some fun activities throughout the days,” administrator Tamara Turner said. Students enjoy a variety of activities like going to a private beach and visiting an elementary school in Costa Rica. “We went horseback riding, kayaking and zip-lining. We went to the beach and we walked through the rain forest. It was a lot of fun,” sophomore Drew Martin said. In Costa Rica, students visit and interact with children at an elementary school. “At one point of the trip we went to a school to see how the children learn and received education. That was really exciting for us because we got to see a local school and how it differs from the U.S.,” junior Kyle Cannon said. Tilson agrees. “The benefit of the students is to meet and work with other students from around the world. In this case it was small children attending an elementary school in Costa Rica,” STEM coordinator Carl Tilson said. Students receive a balance of education and entertainment. “The trip had its time of education and fun because our tour guide would provide us with information about what we’re passing or what sights we’re going to see,” Kyle said. “Also, during the activities he would give us information about what we’re actually doing.” Students explore the rainforest as they learn about the environment and wildlife of Costa Rica. “We learned a lot about the biodiversity in Costa Rica. We learned about the different types of animals and the species of animals,” Drew said. “We learned about the country overall and the environment.” Tilson encourages more students to not miss out on a great opportunity. “My advice to any student who is interested in exploring the world is to take the opportunity offered by STEM,” Tilson said, “to see some of the most amazing places on the planet.”