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Middle Schoolers Visit Orphanage During Puerto Rico Trip

Thirty-two members of the classes of 2020 and 2021 went on a trip to Puerto Rico in June along with chaperones Ida Leader, Mary Elizabeth Snyder and Scott Zeplin. They learned how to salsa dance, visited the Bioluminescent Bay, hiked in the rainforest, ate Puerto Rican food, met Puerto Rican people and practiced Spanish. A new activity of this Tower Hill tradition was to spend time at the Casa del Niño, a home for boys in San Juan. Here eighth-graders Claire Dignazio and Bridget Knitowski share their impressions:
During Tower Hill School’s trip to Puerto Rico, we visited an orphanage where we met and got to play with many kids. Throughout the visit, we played sports together and got to learn more about all of the children. At first we were nervous about the situation. However, it did not take long before we were all smiling and cheering each other on during soccer and basketball games. They were all extremely nice, and they were amazing at the sports we played! We were also impressed with their skills on the trampoline. We practiced our Spanish with them, and they practiced their English with us, resulting in mutual benefits for everyone. After playing outside, we were then able to share dinner with them. The dining room was filled with laughter and enjoyment as we ate pizza and ice cream.
This trip to the orphanage opened our eyes. At Tower Hill, we always talk about how we are grateful for our ability to go to such a wonderful school and be in a great community, but we sometimes take it for granted and don't truly realize how lucky we are. Seeing these fantastic kids in the orphanage made our grade understand that even though the children came from lots of different — and often less than ideal — backgrounds and situations, they are still able to be happy and kind people like the students and faculty at Tower Hill. We are so grateful that we were able to visit these amazing boys in Puerto Rico. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!
—Claire Dignazio '21 and Bridget Knitowski '21