A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Student Life

Different country, different perspective

From seeing the Panama Canal, to petting monkeys, the SCHS trip to Panama was quite the adventure. They had jungle tours and cooking class. They experienced no running water and helped clean a school. The trip to Panama was an unforgettable experience that would change the students forever.
Nine students and two chaperones from Shawano Community High School went to Panama from June 9 to 16 in 2018 to experience the culture of a Hispanic country.
Amy Quinn, a junior, had a change in perspective about the world. She now realizes that “everything is not okay in the world.”
“There are a lot bigger problems than I once thought,” Quinn explained. “I know there is this big patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean, and I never really believed that it could be that bad.”
Quinn was not the only student who had a change in perspective while in Panama. Senior Erica Krueger was humbled by the country.
“It was very humbling to see the socioeconomic difference and how our slums are their middle class,” Krueger said.
Mrs. Kelly Lightner, a Spanish teacher at SCHS, was in charge of the trip. She had to organize everything from what the students had to bring on the trip to getting all the payments. She was willing to do this all to share her love for the Spanish culture with her students.
“I don’t see myself as just a Spanish teacher. I really see myself as someone that loves the Spanish language and culture,” Mrs. Lightner said. “I really enjoy sharing that with other people including my students, and I like to see them get as excited about the language and culture as I am.”
Not only did they get to see a lot of the culture, but they got to see an important landmark.
“The thing that amazed me most was the Panama Canal, getting to see such an important part of history, and something so important to the shipping industry today,” Quinn said. 
The students really got a taste of what it was like in this Hispanic country when they were with their host families. They stayed in a typical Panamanian house, which is a lot different from American houses.
“They are all open, so there is no glass for windows,” Quinn explained. “It’s just screens and shutters to let air through, and there is a lot of openness. There are no real doors.”
The one thing that Quinn will remember most is “all the fun times [she] had with the people on the trips and in different locations, like cracking jokes and getting to see all the stuff.”
Krueger will remember the whole experience and how different the country is from America.
There is no denying that the students had a great time on this trip.