Going global - Service and study takes students across the world
Graphic by Maggie Baillie
Whether it’s doing international service trips, educational internships, or out-of-state field trips, Judge students have logged a lot of miles this year. We’ve gone to the mountains, oceans, and four continents. Here’s a look at some of them.
International service trips
Story by Maggie Baillie
Over the summer of 2017, many students participated in international service programs that brought students from all over Utah to many places across the world. Here at Judge, there were more than 10 students involved in the YouthLinc program, while senior Reilly Edgar participated in service projects in Sumatra and Bali through a group called Adventures Cross Country (ARCC).
Sophie Campbell, Koji Nagata-Brown, and Keaton Yoshinaga traveled to Peru.
“I loved going to Peru,” Koji said. “There was a lot going on and I enjoyed being a part of the bustle of everyday life there. My favorite part was being able to connect with everyone regardless of the huge culture difference.” Before the trip, Koji, Keaton, and Sophie prepared English lessons, health fairs, and culture fairs. They also were required to complete 80 hours of local service prior to the trip.
“I thought it was really important to do those 80 hours of service regardless of how hard it was. It showed me a lot about myself and how I will most definitely go on another service trip.” Sophie Campbell said.
Peru wasn’t the only place that students served this summer.
Maggie Baillie, Sofia Clark, and Zach Jerome traveled to Nepal and Missy Fang, Zoe Bauman, and Ellie McCoy went to Thailand.
Ellie had the time of her life over in Thailand. “It was amazing. Looking back, I thought it was so cool how close I got with the little kids. It is crazy how it is even possible to make connections with the huge language barrier that is present.”
Averi Bailey mentioned how she was able to connect with people despite barriers in Cambodia. “My favorite part was being able to communicate with the people in the village even though we didn’t speak the same language we still understood each other and accomplished a lot of great things.”
Zach had an amazing time as well. “My favorite part was being able to go on home visits and see how they lived in comparison to us. It was really important to me to see this because the Nepalese culture is so different and it only made sense to be immersed in it while we were there.”
In Cambodia Averi encountered some of the troubles of the past. “The most challenging part for me was when we went on home visits. A lot of the people we worked with are survivors of genocide that took place in Cambodia about 50 years ago. Yet even though they’ve dealt with severe loss and abuse, they’re all very humble and happy.”
All trips with Youthlinc have specific days where they go to the homes of the villagers and see how they live. It has been a part of the program since it began and is always one of the main things people look forward to while on the trip.
These service trips happen every year. Students travel during the summer. Some places that Youthlinc travels is Thailand, Nepal, Madagascar, Kenya, Peru, Guatemala, and Fiji.
“This is something that I think that everyone should do at some point in their life,” Missy said. “It was hard work, but it is something that I’ll always remember.”
Studying coral bleaching in the Atlantic and Pacific
Story by Carter Holyoak
Most environmental issues that we face today are immediately apparent, for example smog in the air from the inversions. One issue that we don’t see but is threatening is coral deterioration. With our lack of access to the ocean in Utah, it is a little tough to witness this event first hand. But with some amazing scientific opportunities, two Judge students were able to take a closer look at this impending crisis.
“The problem that a lot of the coral is facing now is bleaching,” junior Chris Athens said. “The acidity in the ocean is getting so high that the corals are dying off.” This summer Chris was able to work hands on with one of the world’s most renowned coral scientists, Dr. Ruth Gates. The Gates Lab in Hawaii sponsored a project where high schoolers from around the country worked together to try to breed a stronger type of coral, one resistant to bleaching.
While the project Chris took part in sounds rather science intensive, Chris said that since most of the research took place at night, they could do whatever they wanted throughout the day. The only restriction was once returning to Coconut Island, an island dedicated to research and where Chris’s team was working, the students had to rigorously wash their hands and arms and then get to work. With breeding coral being such a delicate process, any introduction of sunscreen into the coral can kill off the coral that is being bred.
Another Judge student, Reilly Edgar, was part of a team that went to Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas. Reilly spent his fall semester of junior year studying Acroporid coral and the effects that humanity was having on it. Reilly and his team had a specific mission.
“Our goal was to do a baseline assessment of the Acroporids in the area, since there haven’t been any studies done previously on those types of corals.” Acroporids are a reef building coral, which allows for the structure of the ecosystem. As part of his project, Reilly also helped build a coral garden using PVC pipe and fragmented pieces of coral to help to boost the ecosystem.
With ocean temperatures rising, it is a race against time to create coral that can survive the warming waters. Chris described the root of his teams efforts: “We were taking corals that were resistant to bleaching and we were taking their sperm and egg and trying to make a coral that was more resistant to bleaching than the corals that were dying off.”
Only time will tell, but hopefully these scientific developments are able to preserve one of the most beautiful ecosystems on the face of our earth.
Science programs take learning outside
Story by Isa Dodson
Outdoor education is becoming a huge part of learning in high school settings. Specifically at Judge, we are trying to create opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom. In past years, students have gone on trips to the Teton Science School, Spain and Italy, they’ve rafted down the Colorado River, and most recently in November studied oceanography at Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California.
In the last few years our Teton Science School program has been directed by Dr. Natalie Dutrow. Previously the program was directed by Mr. George Angelo. Students and advisors go during the winter so they can study snow science and learn about the environment.
While students are there they trace animal tracks, collect data on the snow, and analyze this data. The majority of the day is spent out in the field. Each morning students pack a lunch, do a group lesson, and layer up to explore the outdoors, maneuvering through the snow by skate skiing or snowshoeing. Once students get back from the day in the field, the whole group meets and discusses their findings.
This past year, students learned about how light affects snow and what kind of light bulbs are better for us to be using. During the last two days several groups did experiments exploring the effect of light bulbs on the snow. It is a once in a lifetime experience to be studying so close to the Tetons and be surrounded by such beautiful scenery.
Dr. Dutrow said with a laugh, “Generally, my role has been chasing students around making sure they don’t get eaten by bears and wolves.”
A current senior, Tony Robinson went on the trip last year said, “I took a lot away from this experience. Going to Teton Science School made me have a greater appreciation for the outdoors and for science in general.”
All the students who have gone on this trip have shared fun stories about the times they spent with their friends and in nature; each highly recommended going on this trip explaining that it is a perfect way to get out of school for a week to do powerful hands-on learning. Whether it is the memories of Dr. Dutrow reading a bedtime story or falling down multiple hills on skate skis, these recollections will never be forgotten. It is a perfect way to create a better community.
This past fall, the Oceanography class directed by Dr. Dasch Houdeshel went to the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles. Dr. Dasch said, “going to experience a place or a thing is the best way to learn about it.” Going on this trip is an incredible opportunity because Judge students have never had the chance to go before.
While on this trip and afterwards Dr. Dasch hopes students take away three things, “First, a love for the ocean; second, the importance of multidisciplinary approaches to first understand and then to solve problems; and third, each individual has a different skill set that they can apply to a larger community to solve problems.”
Senior Sam Schmiett talked about what the students did on the trip. “We went snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and learned about the area we were in. My favorite part was snorkeling at night and seeing two sharks. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity”.
Once the group returned Dr. Dasch said, “I was most impressed watching our students learn new skills. The first day, it took everyone over an hour to figure out how to get their wetsuits and snorkeling gear on, but on the last day, we were in the water and snorkeling in under 15 minutes.”
Senior Lauren Pasternak also learned a lot and was impressed with the wonders of nature that she encountered. “Watching the bioluminescence was a really rad experience,” she said. “Bioluminescence is the biochemical emission of light that certain organisms give off. Small organisms, called dinoflagellates, have proteins inside of their cells that radiate light when the sun isn’t out. It was like we were holding little stars in our hands.”
Dr. Dasch summed up the impact of the experience: “The snorkel on the first day was the first time five of our students had ever been in the ocean. That was what the trip was about– providing new experiences to give our students a reason for learning and doing well in school.”
Overall, outdoor education is becoming very popular throughout the country. Luckily, Judge Memorial is taking advantage of the opportunities it allows.