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VacationStudy abroad on hold, but Plymouth schools still thinking globally | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly

Study abroad on hold, but Plymouth schools still thinking globally | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly

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PLYMOUTH – In a normal year, Alex Cardoso would be leading a group of excited kids on the trip of a lifetime this week.

The Plymouth North High School math teacher has led student trips to Costa Rica, Iceland, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in recent years and, this week, he should be in Peru for a week-long adventure capped by a visit to Machu Picchu.

That train trip through the Sacred Valley to the fabled Lost City of the Inca went the way of last year’s scrubbed trip to Belize, however, for Cardoso and dozens of students.

Local math teacher Alex Cardoso has led student trips to Costa Rica, Ecuador and Iceland in the last five years. Plans for last April's trip to Belize and this week's trip to Peru were canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic put a halt to all local student travel last March, abruptly cancelling plans for trips to Costa Rica, France, Spain, Belize, Italy and the Dominican Republic.

A later trip to the Dominican and an exchange trip to England in celebration of the town’s 400th anniversary were postponed as well.

Cardoso still hopes to lead student adventures to Belize, Peru and even Brazil someday, but when that might be is still uncertain. Some fear international travel may never recover from the damage done by the pandemic. It has certainly put programs to the test, but local schools are staying invested in their overseas relationships just the same.

Local students traveled to the Galapagos Islands in 2018.

Championing a global community

Former Supt. Gary Maestas was a driving force behind student travel in local schools.

Student exchanges have been going on for decades, but during Maestas’ 12 years as superintendent, the district took a decidedly global approach to learning.

Maestas championed international exchanges, solidifying the town’s long-standing sister city relationship with the people of Shichigahama, Japan, and expanding ties to school districts in England, Italy and China.

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