For eight Common Ground juniors and seniors, this year’s spring break held an incredible adventure and learning opportunity. In the third year of partnering with Common Ground, Amistad America offered students a chance to participate in Amistad Science, Community, and Cultural Internship. “The Science, Culture & Community Internship (SCCI) is Amistad America’s interdisciplinary studies program that provides New Haven high school students with skill training opportunities, within the wide spectrum of the maritime sciences, including seamanship and navigation, marine biology, geo-chemistry, mechanics and engineering, environmental stewardship and cultural anthropology,” explained Hanifa Washington, Amistad America Executive Director, who also joined the students and Common Ground Biology Teacher David Edgeworth on the trip. “This program offers hands on exposure, increases international awareness and can includes on board experiential learning modules for high school/gap year age students.”

Students and staff shared their reflections and pictures:

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After a rigorous application and interview process, eight students were selected for a semester-long internship — including six days of a hands-on educational experience in the Dominical Republic. The trip began at a school in Santo Domingo that Amistad America has helped build over the past three years, Miracle of Love Community School, which grants kids that don’t have citizenship access to education. While there Common Ground students were able to interact with the students, speak with the founders of the school, and even helped paint the buildings. Common Ground students are now in the process of making a website for the school, which help them garner exposure and hopefully help to maintain and grow the program.

The second half of the trip focused on environmental issues facing the Dominican Republic. Students worked with an Environmental Engineer Jorge Del Los Santos during the trip. Students traveled up into the middle basin of the Dominican mountains to sample the Chevon Riverm a precious drinking water source to hundreds of thousands of Dominicans. Our students sampled the river at 6 locations from the highest point in the watershed to where the river meets the Caribbean sea. Now back in Connecticut, students will deliver the frozen samples to Professor Ruth Blake of Yale University in May for further testing.