I hold an adamant belief that travel can be an invaluable, life-altering experience. Families that have the means to travel often see it as a luxury, and take for granted the incredible learning that they and their children gain. I work in an alternative high school – most of my students are from families that do not have anywhere near those kinds of means. Their experiences have been, in large part, a struggle and the larger world is mostly an abstraction – including the potential wonder and hope that it can hold. Monteverde, Costa Rica epitomizes that kind of wonder and hope – blending the culture of indigenous inhabitants with that of the American Quaker settlers that arrived in the 1950’s, and balancing a model of conservation with becoming an international eco-tourism destination. The book, Walking With Wolf, tells this story in a remarkable way.
We are now in the midst of a year-long interdisciplinary class that will include Walking With Wolf, student blogs (which I hope you'll check out on the right), individual research projects, and a 10-day trip to Monteverde this Spring. The students are working hard and must fundraise their entire way there - they need your help. If you are willing to support their efforts,
checks can be made out to “Lister Academy – Costa Rica Class”, and mailed to: Robert J. Lister Academy, Attn: Bryan Mascio, 35 Sherburne Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Celebration Dinner

Last night we had our celebration dinner, hosting family members, friends and wonderfully supportive community members from Portsmouth and beyond. Jessica and the students did a fantastic job preparing all of the food, including 3 types of Gallo Pinto, an Avocado and Mango Salsa, Hearts of Palm Salad, and assorted Tropical Fruit. Everyone raved about the food and we will be sharing the recipes soon. The night was all about celebrating the students' hard work and achievements, and especially showing our appreciation for all those that have supported us along the way.

The students specifically recognized:
  • Dr. Lister, the namesake of our school, for his devotion and support of the idea of educating all students
  • Kristi Scarpone for her superior fund-raising talents and guidance
  • Amy Smith for her grant writing and enthusiasm
  • Kelley-Sue Leblanc for donating her invaluable time to help us with all-things-online
  • Martha Fuller Clark for an incredibly generous donation that is covering the airfare for the entire group
  • Carmela Mascio for her help in every fundraiser and support in between
  • Dick's Sporting Good and Timberland for helping to outfit us
  • Jennifer Feals, of the Portsmouth Herald and Seacoast Online, for sharing our story with the larger community
  • Stonyfield Farm for a grant that covered all of our transportation costs while in Costa Rica
  • New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for a grant that is covering many of our adventure tours including a day of white water rafting and tree planting
  • Joe Arnstein for providing us a place to dump all of the leaves that we raked as a fundraiser
  • Vicky Avery, from the Stratham Fair, for helping to arrange for us to have a fundraising booth last summer
  • The Middle Street Shell Station in Portsmouth for hosting our car wash
  • The entire staff and student body at the Robert J Lister Academy, but in particular Ellen Gagnon, Ilysse Sirmaian, and Nancy Roy.
  • The students were also very gracious in thanking Jessica and me for our efforts and the relationship that we have developed - I can say that this was an especially emotional moment for us.

As I am now continuing the final preparations for the trip, last night's festivities keep me more inspired than ever. We are now only 5 days away from our departure and are all home today because of an April Fool's Day snow storm - the tropical climate of Costa Rica seems all the more appealing.

1 comment:

  1. Hi folks,

    Just sharing a link to the Portsmouth Zero Waste Blog. It has "our" art work on it!!


    Enjoy your trip!!