Lakota OKs student trip to Puerto Rico PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 19 October 2013 08:03
KANSAS - Not your ordinary field trip, the proposed excursion will take Spanish students beyond traditional borders.
The Lakota Board of Education on Monday night approved allowing students taking Spanish 2 and 3 to take a trip to Puerto Rico next March.
Spanish teacher Mandy Grattan spoke to the board at length regarding the first such trip to be organized through the school. Her presentation outlined how the trip would be safe, authentic, simple and affordable.
Though the cost may be up to $1,700 per student, she said for the 7-day trip, the cost includes travel, hotel accommodations and three meals per day. The more students and chaperones who make the trip will reduce the cost per ticket. The teacher says there is an interest expressed for up to 10 students along with three or four adults to oversee them.
The travel will be with a Spanish class out of Dundee, Mich., and will fly out of Detroit. The Michigan teacher has taken a group for four consecutive years and has had no issues with the company.
Rather than a tourist trip, it is planned as an immersion trip with each of the students pledging to "as much as possible" to speak only Spanish.
Grattan told the board because of Puerto Rico's affiliation with the United States as a territory, no passports are necessary, cell phones will work, yet it will still be an authentic cultural experience for them. The trip will run from March 21-27.
Members of the board had numerous questions regarding such topics as board and school liability and safety issues for the students. When asked about his view, Superintendent Jon Detwiler said, "I'm all in."
He noted the "shrinking world" and the benefits of such travel for the student's growth.
As part of the board's "consent agenda," members approved the trip.
Those who make the trip will spend one half day in a service project to benefit the local community on the island.
During the public participation Rick Whetsel requested the board approve funding for a new wrestling mat. He told the board when they have a tournament they have to borrow mats and hauling them back and forth is not always sanitary. The one 40-by-40-foot mat would be their fourth mat and would provide enough mats in house they would not need to go elsewhere to find a mat to use. The total cost is $6,850 and Whetsel said the athletic boosters would likely pick up half the cost through a verbal agreement.
The other visitor to speak was Don Bowling and he wanted the board to investigate the level of punishment and details of an incident "a couple of weeks ago" which resulted in the out of school suspension of student athletes. Because of their suspension, they missed the homecoming game. He said, "A lot of people are very upset."
"I'm not saying they did nothing wrong. They should have been disciplined," Bowling said.
He explained the incident as a "shoving match" and he did not feel it rose to the level of an out of school suspension. He said one of them was recently named the "student of the month."
He only asked the board to look into the matter. Bowling then informed the board that the varsity football team is in need of new helmets before next season.
He explained the inner mechanisms are deteriorating and if one of the bladders fail, it could not protect the player's head from a concussion.
"It is the best thing to do to protect these kids' heads," he said.

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