■ By Elyse Askari / Reporter
Something most teens consider doing before beginning college life or joining the workforce full time is putting a few miles on their souls. San Jacinto Valley Academy (SJVA) has definitely given their students the opportunity to do just that in recent years, be it trips to Utah and New York, and even so far as a yearly pilgrimage to Japan. The school continues to expand its efforts to enrich students with as much cultural experience as they can.
Several upperclassmen from SJVA flew to Boston, Massachusetts over the spring break to establish an exchange program between San Jacinto Valley Academy and Newman High School – a privately funded school which, similar to SJVA, is college oriented and preparatory for its students.
Both schools engage in what is known as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, which is a class environment that focuses on the student’s personal work ethic and growth, and challenges its participants with an academic rigor that requires extensive time and effort. Students even have the opportunity to earn college credits during these classes, and it is possible for them to obtain an associate degree before their high school graduation.
SJVA’s IB trip to Boston emphasized student participation, and the school encouraged its students to make real world connections with Newman High instead of simply making it another board meeting.
“It’s a good opportunity for us as students to go because we also get to see the difference in cultures between California and Massachusetts,” said Jordan Adamson, one of the seniors who went on the four-day trip. “It makes you realize that there are different approaches to the same issues, like transportation for example. Everyone walks everywhere in Boston.” Jordan went on to describe her and her classmates experience in the labyrinth-like subway station, and their timing issues with the nearly omnipresent trolley on their way to Newman High.
“We had the opportunity to meet and talk to the staff and supervisors at Newman (High School),” Jordan says, “and explain the program we want to get started.”
And start the program they definitely did. Hopefully in the near future, Boston and San Jacinto will be connected and offering kids the opportunity to travel before their adult lives begin, whether in college or the working world, and if all goes according to plan, students on both ends of the nation will have the opportunity to travel, learn about places they have only read about in textbooks or seen on the news, and experience these cultures firsthand.