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A group of North Point High School students and teachers traveled out of the country once more to take their dedication to service beyond the walls of the Waldorf high school.

In April, three students and two teachers from the school ventured to Belize for five days for a service trip, during which they observed a different culture’s take on education and immersed themselves in a new environment while serving the community. Following the success of the trip and the impact of the experience, drafting teacher Dwight Brown said, the group returned in July, this time with more students and more time.

“We had the opportunity to revisit Belize from July 9 to 16 and continue our work,” Brown said. “This time, we took nine students down, and not from just the drafting program but from all over the school. I think the students saw how well it went the first time and wanted to get involved this time.”

The nine students and three teachers on the trip participated in service projects in the Central American country, including setting up a computer lab for a school in San Pedro, working with a local basketball team and training students and teachers in technology. Like last time, the group brought school supplies, athletic equipment and money for the community.

Although the projects were different this time, Brown said the core mission of the trip remained the same, along with the experience.

“Through our architectural drafting program, I try to immerse my students in a vastly different culture and to heighten their social awareness, which advocates lifelong social action,” Brown said. “I was extremely pleased and proud to see how the students stepped up and demonstrated character far beyond their years in dealing with the people we met.”

Senior Rachel Tomlinson, who went on the trip in April, was just as affected by what she experienced the second time around.

“It made me realize how good we have it in America,” Tomlinson said. “We take everything for granted, unlike them. I’m very excited that we helped the schools, and I can’t wait to go back and further our relationship with them.”

History teacher Marilee Bennett was struck by the disparities between the education systems in Belize and the United States.

“It was very enlightening to see the conditions of high schools in Belize,” Bennett said. “They don’t have a lot, but they really use everything they have. It made me think about how we could use more things we’re not using or give them to someone who could.”

Senior Ashley Yeager said she donated one of her old laptops to the computer lab set up at the school and gained a new appreciation for the luxuries of the United States.

“Seeing their way of life made me appreciate America and all that we have,” Yeager said. “The people in Belize are the nicest people that I have ever met in my life; they’re all so grateful for what they have even though they don’t have much at all. They still seem to love their country and the lives they live. One of the locals said to me, ‘Have no worries in life, just be happy and smile.’ The whole trip was life- changing.”

Brown said he is in the process of planning another trip to Belize in 2013.