By ABIGAIL HUNT
Spring break is one of the most anticipated weeks for college students during the spring semester. The week-long vacation period allows students to take a break from schoolwork and relax. Many UMW students took this opportunity to travel across the country, such as senior Rachel Hendricks, who flew to San Francisco, California for her vacation with friends.
“I had an amazing experience in San Francisco this spring break,” said Hendricks. “My friends and I had been planning this trip for months now, so plane tickets were relatively cheap round trip. Over the course of the week I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge, the painted ladies, and my personal favorite, the house that was used for filming the show “Full House.” We also ate very well. For anyone who hasn’t visited San Francisco I suggest they go.”
Some UMW students used the time to travel out of the country such as senior Camilla Herrera. “For my last spring break as an undergrad I flew to visit family and friends in Granada, Seville and Madrid, Spain,” said Herrera. “I was lucky to get a ticket to the Alhambra in Granada, one of the most important historical traits the Arab kingdom left behind. Additionally, I went skiing in Sierra Nevada. In Seville I toured the city and learned about the sad history of the jew quarters that the Spanish ran for decades. Finally, in Madrid I got lost between metro stations touring the capital of Spain and met old family friends for my last night in Spain. Together we made a lot of memories. I travel to Spain sometimes several times in a year, I love it there.”
Senior Nikki Lind spent her break training for her first marathon. She ran the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach on Sunday. “I had run several half marathons in the past,” said Lind, “but this was my first full marathon. I couldn’t have done it without the support from my family and my friends. I finished with a time of 3:34:51, and I qualified for the Boston Marathon which has always been a dream of mine.”
UMW Ultimate Frisbee members made the 6 hour drive to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the annual High Tide Frisbee tournament. They won approximately 3 of 5 games, however the tournament does not affect their ranking as it was just for fun.
Other UMW students chose to participate in some of the many study abroad trips offered by Mary Washington, or trips with their clubs. Four UMW students took part in constructing a school for underprivileged students in Honduras with the organization Students Helping Honduras. They were joined by 18 other students, one from Wake Forest University, and the rest from James Madison University. Freshman Sophie Ahava was one of the four students who participated in the trip and is an active member in Students Helping Honduras.
“We went and worked on a school for a week mixing the cement and building up the walls,” said Ahava. “We built three extra classrooms for the sixth grade. The education buildings do not exceed elementary school, making middle school aged children unable to continue their education. Many of the the kids at the school also helped us. The extra rooms also help these kids because they don’t have the opportunity to go to school year round simply because there’s not enough space so often they have to take turns. Many members of the community where almost in tears that we were there. Their gratitude extended beyond the scope construction, they were more than grateful that we were there to do the things their own government couldn’t do for them.”
In addition, Dr. Dawn Bowen, professor of Geography, lead over a dozen students on a voyage to Guatemala. According to the UMW Geography webpage, the purpose of this annual trip is to advance the countries economy, protect it from food shortages, and to aid in providing socio economic stability. Initiatives to achieve these goals are produced by the Community Cloud Forest Conservation, the NGO in which the students partnered with while in Guatemala.
Other trips included Habitat for Humanity, who took UMW students to Georgia to take part in rebuilding and constructing houses. In addition several other groups of students studied abroad in Quebec, Poland, Panama, the Galapagos and London.
The end of spring break 2018 marks the halfway point through the semester leaving us with only seven weeks left of school until summer break. For many seniors this is a bitter-sweet time. For freshman, sophomores and juniors it marks just one more school year closer to graduating.