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Watkinson Students from West Hartford Travel to Dominican Republic

Watkinson students Rachel Katz (left) and Marissa Fierston (right) both of West Hartford were part of a recent service trip to the Dominican Republic. Submitted photo

Watkinson School partnered with Hartford’s University High School for Science and Engineering (UHSSE) to send a 50-person team, including several students from West Hartford, on a service trip to the Dominican Republic.

Watkinson students Rachel Katz (left) and Marissa Fierston (right) both of West Hartford were part of a recent service trip to the Dominican Republic. Submitted photo

Watkinson students Rachel Katz (left) and Marissa Fierston (right) both of West Hartford were part of a recent service trip to the Dominican Republic. Submitted photo

Submitted by Stacy Routhier, Watkinson School

Watkinson School sent 50 travelers to spend a week in La Romana, Dominican Republic from Nov. 22-29, 2014.  This year’s team represents a partnership between Watkinson and the UHSSE.  Travelers spent their week running medical clinics, distributing food, and building hurricane-proof homes for the displaced Haitians who live in sugar cane work camps, also known as bateys.

The group, led by Watkinson’s Communication Director Jenni French (of Wallingford) and Dean of Faculty Sandy García (of Hartford), was comprised of 26 students age 13-18 and 24 alumni, faculty members, and parents. The leader of the UHSSE team was Liz Benfield, a Watkinson alum.

This is the fifth annual service-learning trip Watkinson has sent to this region. In addition to partnering with the magnet high school, the trip also had five residents from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine among the travelers.

Co-leader Jenni French commented, “Watkinson is privileged to be forming partnerships with the University High School of Engineering and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. A Watkinson alum, Liz Benfield (of Wethersfield) went on this trip in 2012. Liz teaches Spanish at the UHSSE and as soon as we returned from La Romana last year Liz started planning with me how to get a group of her students to join our team. Similarly, an alumni parent, Kiki Nissen (of Farmington), is Associate Dean for graduate medical education at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and helped us enlist three residents to work with our team on the medical clinics we run. We are excited for these new partnerships to develop in the years to come.”

The service trip to the Dominican Republic is part of Watkinson’s popular Global Studies program that has curricular, co-curricular, travel, and service learning components. The mission of Watkinson’s Global Studies Program is to develop in students the power to be knowledgeable and effective world citizens — acting locally and globally — and to foster respect for diverse people and cultures.

Watkinson’s next open houses are Dec. 17, 2014, at 5:15 p.m. for athletes, and Jan. 9, 2015, at 9 a.m., for all students. To learn more and register visit www.watkinson.org.

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