Quinte, On. real estate agent: One Awesome School Trip

One Awesome School Trip

Sarah JohnstonMy daughter came back from the Dominican Republic on Friday. She had been there for a week with a group of eight other girls and a couple of teachers from her school.

The previous Friday I had been part of a very Canadian scene. It was 5.30 am, it was still very dark and cold enough that we could see our breaths. We had gathered to see our daughters off, and as I stood waving at the departing big yellow school bus that was taking them to the Toronto Airport, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of apprehension.

I realize that sending my daughter to the Dominican Republic wasn't the same as sending her to Rwanda or anywhere like that, but still, I can be a bit of a worrywart. 

The girls were going to stay with families in the DR, in a relatively poor area. They were going to experience a week of life under vastly different conditions. Of course, they were chaperoned everywhere, and their safety was never compromised, but still, it was an eye-opening experience for them. They were going to see how different communities operated.

They had all worked very hard to pay for this trip by raising funds. This trip was the culmination of almost two years of effort from these girls, and all nine of them worked very hard to be able to pay for as much of it themselves as they could (with some help from moms and dads). I was very proud of the night that they hosted a dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Trenton and sold every single ticket.

I had to pick her up on Friday night at the school. I'll admit that I was very relieved when the bus pulled into the parking lot and Sarah ran down the steps to give her brother a hug. All the girls tumbled out of the bus with their hair in cornrows.

I haven't asked her too many questions about he trip yet. I'm sure it will take some days for her to process all that she saw. It's just too easy to expect her to say that she has gained a greater appreciation for all the things that we as North Americans have. I'm sure that the experience taught her much more profound lessons than that.

I really think that more of our young people should have an opportunity to experience a trip like that. It should really become a greater priority for us as a society. The cost isn't really all that much, and I'm sure that the lessons learned will end up being priceless to the children, and the effects will ripple out to the benefit of our communities as a whole.

I can think about all that later, for now, I'm just happy to have Sarah home.

Comment balloon 9 commentsMalcolm Johnston • December 06 2010 01:10PM


My son went to the DR several years ago as part of his schools mission and service to the world community.  He was a junior in high school at the time and he came back changed.  He understood all that he has and wants to find other ways to give back.  I think as a parent our job is to provide opportunities for our children to get this message. Good for you Malcolm and I am glad she is home safe.

Posted by Larry Lawfer, "I listen for a living." It's all about you. (YourStories Realty Group powered by Castles Unlimited®) almost 10 years ago

WOW ... sounds great !  ... And that special treat is that Sarah can share her experience with everyone and they too will share it.  We all learn a bit and perhaps appreciate our own path in life a bit more.    ... Thanks Malcolm.

Posted by Len Kobewka, You Can Scape-it (Prairie Scapes / Scape-it™) almost 10 years ago

Larry, the DR must be a popular destination for such school trips. I believe that youngsters benefit the most from these lessons, and it can have a profound effect on them.

John, I do think she had some new experiences, and learned quite a bit.

Len, I hope that Sarah does get to share some o her lessons with others.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) almost 10 years ago

How wonderful that Sarah had such an opportunity Malcolm. I would have been very relieved as well LOL. That's what parents do.

Posted by Janice Ankrett, Staging Professional (Janice Ankrett Home Staging) almost 10 years ago

This type of trip can be a real experience and it will be an important part of a resume for a young person.

Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) almost 10 years ago

hi Malcolm,

It sounds like Sarah had an experience that will change her entire outlook on life....congrats to her and the other girls for working so hard to achieve their goal and to the parents for helping whereever they were able.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith almost 10 years ago

What a great experience for a young person to have, Malcolm.  Kudos to Sarah for wanting to do it and to you for having the courage to let her go. 

Posted by Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager (RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca) almost 10 years ago

Malcolm, you must be so very proud of her. Not only the work it took to get there, but the fact that she wanted to experience a Country that has such hardship.

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Central Maryland (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Malcolm, what a great experience for your daughter.  My grade ten history teacher was the son of a diplomat and travelled the world before he started his career.  He told us that what you gain by experiencing people and cultures is priceless.  btw, it looks like you and your wife have raised a fine young woman =)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 10 years ago