AC Presidential Scholars to embark on service-learning trip to Dominican Republic

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A dozen students in the Presidential Scholars program at Amarillo College will become teachers for a week when they visit an elementary school in Monte Cristi, a rural fishing town in the northwest region of the Dominican Republic.

It’s a week-long, service-learning sojourn that begins Friday, Jan. 5 and fulfills the promise of unique travel opportunities afforded AC’s Presidential Scholars. 

Leading the way will be Presidential Scholars co-sponsors Michelle Orcutt, Speech Department chair, and Lesley Ingham, instructor of speech. 

“Our Scholars will have a wonderful opportunity to teach English through interactive lessons to students at an elementary school in Monte Cristi, where the poverty rate is very high,” Ingham said. 

“We will also be leading arts and crafts and other activities, some games and sports – like basketball and soccer.”

The AC contingent is making the trip in conjunction with Outreach360, a grassroots volunteer organization in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua that aims to educate underserved Latin American youth through service-learning projects such as this.

In preparing for their service-learning endeavor, the Presidential Scholars extensively researched the demographics and history of Monte Cristi. They also brushed up on their Spanish language skills.

Students making the trip are: Stevi Breshears, Samuel Cluck, Anthony Do, Cielo Gutierrez-Anchondo, Hayley Ingram, Olivia Moctezuma, Sarah Nease, Dalena Nguyen, Samantha Perez-Macias, Justin Phommachanh, Aden Sharp and Andreanna Simpson.

“Everyone is really excited about this opportunity,” Ingham said. “For our students, it’s a rare opportunity to interact with another culture, share knowledge and hopefully make a difference. It also offers the promise of personal growth and epiphany for each of our Scholars.” 

Ingham invites anyone interested in the AC Presidential Scholars program to follow the progress of their journey on Facebook page “Amarillo College Honors and Scholars.”

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