Guatemala Senior Spring Break Service Trip


Benet Academy

A few seniors on the Guatemala Spring Break service trip pose with a family for whom they are building a house.

While many Benet Academy students enjoyed their 2023 spring break at the beach or relaxing at home, ten seniors spent their week in Antigua, Guatemala. The students and four chaperones built two homes through ImagininGuatemala, a charity that helps provide housing to underprivileged families.

Students lived together with host families for the week. They had the opportunity to practice their Spanish daily and even learned how to barter for goods in Spanish. During the day, students and chaperones separated into two groups to complete the houses. These homes were life-changing for the families that received them. Previously, the families were living on a dirt floor. Now they have a brand new home that is dry, clean and has electricity. The building process involved nailing, sawing, mixing cement, painting, and more. The group worked on the homes and played with the neighborhood children each day. On Sunday, they went to mass. The group also explored Antigua’s culture through home-cooked meals, restaurants, shops, an open-air market, and even zip-lining.

The volunteers got to experience a colorful Lenten procession through the streets of Antigua. Men dressed in purple robes carried religious floats through the town, and the streets were decorated with colorful flower petals, dyed sawdust, and berries. They were made to resemble carpets.

Benet Academy students see this trip as a fantastic experience and opportunity. Senior Mary Kate Wickstrom said, “The Guatemala service trip was the most enriching opportunity I have ever experienced. I got to see the many different socioeconomic backgrounds of Guatemalans and how each one of them was happy with the simple things in their lives. It was really special.”

Benet Academy offers two Guatemala service trips yearly: one in the Spring and one in the summer. The Spring break trip is primarily for Seniors, and Summer is typically for Juniors. They have gone on around ten service trips to Guatemala in the past. One is planned for June this summer with hopefully more coming next school year.