• Student recruitment begins for 2021 trip to Dominican Republic

    Editor's note: Information on hold during COVID-19 pandemic

    DR MPErica Gall has extensive international travel experience that has taken her to every continent in the world, with the exception of Antarctica. The Pleasant Gap Elementary School second-grade teacher has even lived in Europe, the Middle East and Japan.

    Now, she’s leading a district-sponsored international trip to the Dominican Republic, along with Bellefonte Area High School business teacher Ryan Myers, who also has much international travel experience that includes visiting the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Germany, Jamaica, Mexico and St. Maarten. The trip is slated for July 2021 – with dates after July 4 – and a goal to take at least 12 students on the eight-day service learning trip across the country.

    Gall said students will have the opportunity to tour and help serve communities in Santo Domingo, the central mountain region, Santiago and the north coast. Service activities will include educational- and environmental-themed projects that meet the needs of the communities they are visiting. Other activities will include whitewater rafting, attending a pottery workshop, surf lessons, traveling through a lagoon and more.

    “When (we) picked this trip, (we) really wanted to let students experience the whole country,” Gall said. “We’ll have a tour guide with us (through EF Tours) … but I’ve also been all over the place; my kids have lived internationally, so I’m very familiar and comfortable with travel and customs.”

    The trip is open to current seventh- through 11th-grade students attending Bellefonte Area School District. The next meeting will be 6 p.m. March 25 at the Bellefonte Area High School library, where students and families can learn more about the proposed trip. Individual fundraising efforts are also underway to help offset student costs. Students may also earn college credit through the trip.

    For more information, contact Gall or Myers at egall@basd.net or rmyers@basd.net. To learn more about the district’s international travel initiatives, visit this link: International travel

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD. Photo provided by teacher Myken Poorman who was a staff chaperone on the district's trip to the Dominican Republic in 2017.