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Wolcott School Puerto Rico 2023

May 7, 2023

After arriving in San Juan, our group traveled to the Big Yellow House and began exploring the rooms and figuring out how everything works. We all had to figure out how to set up stuff and communicate positively and effectively with one another. It was fun to interact in that way and really talk to each other to figure out what our organizational strengths are while getting settled. We also had a delicious dinner of pizza. 

By Kai B.

May 8, 2023

Our day started with some great breakfast that contained eggs, French toast, sausages, yogurt, fruit, and hash browns. As we all got ready to get on the bus, we formed a big circle to talk about what we are looking forward to on the trip. After our meeting, we went on the bus and rode to Old San Juan for a great tour led by Alvin. The tour was great and Alvin was super knowledgeable about the area. We were able to cover a lot of the history of San Juan and Puerto Rico as a colony of Spain and its importance to the New World. Even though it was such a hot day, it was really nice to look out into the bay. Despite being injured and unable to complete the entire tour, I enjoyed getting ice cream with my Coach while the rest of the group went around and got to do some souvenir shopping. They also went to the Ocean fort to see the Atlantic Ocean. Then, we stopped by Reinas which contained good chicken, steak, and pork. The best part of the day, though, was going to the beach as a huge group to cool off and relax. The beach is so beautiful and it was the perfect way to end a hot day walking around Old San Juan. 

By Kai B., Simon M., Fazli Q., and Maeve W.

May 9, 2023

The seniors had their first service day as we enjoyed some pancakes and hash browns at the house. Then we were on our way to the service site, which was a house that was devastated by Hurricane Maria. We met the coordinators of our service, and we started our service by wearing our service gloves and carrying buckets of sand and rocks to the cement station. Once the cement was produced, empty buckets were filled with fresh cement and carried by one person after another to a group of people who help layout the cement to use for constructing a major wall at the house. The lines we created flowed easily and seemed practiced even though we were new to the work. It was very satisfying to see the physical outcome of our work as the wall we were building filled in with cement. We were so thankful for Maria and her family fueling our work with the delicious lunch they prepared for us. 

-Kai B., Simon M., and Fazli Q.

May 10, 2023

Today took a surprising turn when we realized that by lunch, we had already completed all the work that was necessary for the day. There were no more raw materials to use to make cement, and we had done the work of three days in only a day and a half. It felt great to know how efficient and effective we had been, and we were proud of doing a great job for Maria, Angel, and their family. 

After we made our way back to the Big Yellow House, it was time for the beach. Enjoying the sand, sun, and surf was relaxing as always, but the experience became extra special when it started to rain. Most people headed back to the house, but a few of us stayed out in the water. It was so cool to feel the rain coming down while we floated in the ocean. Then, a few of us hung back to get food at the restaurant by the beach before walking back home. It was awesome to encounter Puerto Rico in this way! 

Finally, we rounded out the day with a visit from Maria, Angel, and their family for dinner followed by a salsa lesson. 

-Maeve W.

May 11, 2023

Our last day in Puerto Rico was a blast! We spent a few final hours at the work site, taking the plywood supports off the cement walls we had poured earlier in the week. It was so satisfying to see the final results of our hard work and to leave the walls in true working condition without anything more to be completed by Angel and his team. 

After a long bus ride, we took the Angelito trail through El Yunque to the river, where we were able to socialize together and not think about the immediate future of college. There was a rope swing to use for entering the water and we also held a belly flop contest from the branch, which Andrew P. definitely won. Selassiei spent his time jumping around from rock to rock and was able to get some great photos of the group. It was fun and peaceful to see the fish swimming through the cool water and skip rocks across the smooth surface. A smaller group of us swam off to find the waterfall; Chase said they didn’t find it, but they did find a big rock to jump off which was really fun, since we had been hoping to do something like that during the whole trip. 

Having dinner out at the restaurant was great without the worries about who would clean up after dinner, and Kyle said he had a lot of fun. 

– Chase I., Selassiei J., Matthew W.