Blair’s spring break begins on March 9, and students and faculty will travel near and far during the much-anticipated hiatus from classes. Many will return home to enjoy time with their families; spring athletes and coaches will spend part of the break training in warm-weather destinations; and Blair groups will embark on unique excursions to Cuba and Kenya. Read on for a preview of travel plans.
Culture in Cuba
Blair’s first-ever trip to Cuba departs on March 11 for a nine-day cultural exploration of the island nation. Seventeen freshmen through seniors and their faculty chaperones, photography teacher Tyson Trish, history teacher Joanne Brandwood and language teacher Joyce Lang, will take part in a diverse itinerary facilitated by World Leadership School. Planned activities include homestays with families in Havana, tours of the city and countryside and meetings with local leaders. Blair students will also have the opportunity to collaborate with Cuban students in several arts workshops and participate in daily leadership learning sessions.
Immersion in Cuban culture and gaining understanding of life in another country are among the chaperones’ goals for the excursion. Mrs. Brandwood is eager to highlight the historical nature of the trip, while Mr. Trish is especially interested in helping students capture images of all they see in Cuba. Mrs. Lang toured Cuba last summer with fellow educators, and she is anticipating another phenomenal experience with students. “I was impressed by the pure passion and joyful creativity exhibited by Cuban artists,” she said. “I am really looking forward to our students experiencing the country from a human perspective—we all have so much to learn.”
Bringing Smiles to Kenyan Kids
Blair’s second group of international travelers, including five students, history teachers Quinten Clarke ’87 and Chris Cameron, and math teacher Danyelle Doldoorian, also departs Blairstown on March 11. Their destination is the village of Kisumu, Kenya, home of “Blair in Kenya,” a nonprofit founded by Mr. Clarke in 2005 to improve the lives of the African nation’s rural poor.
During their weeklong stay with village families, the Blair contingent will visit the two schools operated by “Blair in Kenya” and help introduce Kenyan kids to the game of basketball. “Our organization recently raised funds to construct a basketball court and soccer field in Kisumu,” noted Mr. Clarke, who coaches Blair’s girls’ varsity basketball team. “Several students on the trip are varsity basketball players, and we are excited to run the first-ever basketball clinic in Kisumu.”
Mr. Clarke is also looking forward to giving Blair students a firsthand view of life in Kenya and the experience of living without modern amenities. “We’ll have fun, bring smiles to the faces of Kenyan kids, help teach some classes and overall make the world a happier place,” he added. The group will conclude their stay with a two-day safari in Masai Mara.
Gearing Up for Spring Sports
Preseason training trips are an annual highlight for Blair’s spring athletes, and the Bucs are headed to a number of warm-weather destinations during break. The boys’ and girls’ golf teams will work on their games at the Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic; baseball players will train at the Cal Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; boys’ and girls’ crew will travel to Oak Ridge, Tennessee; the boys’ tennis team is enroute to Saddlebrook tennis resort near Tampa; and the track, softball and lacrosse teams will train and scrimmage at the Disney Sports Complex in Orlando.
The spring athletic season begins as soon as students return from break, whether or not spring temperatures have made it to Blairstown. All students will be back at Blair when classes resume on March 28.