An Adventure with our Top Students
“Cerro Negro” means “black volcano.” Cerro Negro is one of the youngest active volcanoes in the world and because of that, there aren’t trees or grasses that cover the slopes. Cerro Negro is covered in black sand and rocks. It has become famous for VOLCANO BOARDING! Tourists cover the slope starting at about 9am until the afternoon hiking up with their backpacks and boards and then sledding down the side. The record for speed is:
We decided this year that our students should experience all Nicaragua has to offer and hope to take them on more trips next year. We ended this year taking our top 10 high school students to Cerro Negro and Leon. We had a blast! The guide, Jose, pulled up in his truck at 5am. We arrived at the volcano and as we ascended Jose asked the students questions about their lives and told them facts about volcanoes. The hike up was hard for a few of our kids but those who didn’t struggle offered to carry the boards of those who were. We have kids who have the sweetest and kindest hearts.
Once we got to the top and looked into the crater, the kids started to put on their suits (which, in my opinion made them look like Minions). Jose told them about how they needed to go down the slope. Some sped down, others tumbled a bit, and some were too nervous to go really fast. A few of them were scared but they all did it! They loved it and a few wanted to climb back up and do it again. If you have climbed Cerro Negro, you know that it is a feat! Afterwards, we went and got ice cream and pizza in Leon. The restaurant (owned by two Italian men) was really gracious to us and even showed the kids how to make Italian pizza. Of course, our Nicaraguan kids had to put ketchup on their slices. Walking through the central park, the students went inside the cathedral which some of them had never seen before. All the students learn about Nicaraguan poet, Ruben Dario, in school and were excited to see his tomb as he is buried inside the church.
Jose gave all the kids free shirts to commemorate the day and they have been wearing them non-stop. It was such a great experience for them. They haves showed pictures and told all their friends about it constantly.
These students deserved this so much. I sat in the truck on the way back from the volcano thinking about all that they have overcome to achieve the grades they have this year. One of these students lost both of her parents in separate sudden deaths over the last three years. The dad of another student left his family completely out of the blue leaving this particular student to bare the burden of being the oldest child living in the home. He shouldered the responsibility to care for his younger siblings and support his mom. One of our students had to drop out of her first year in high school last year to care for her mom. Some of these students have parents who are illiterate and most of their parents never finished school. Three of our top students graduate high school this year and two of them are in their first year of high school, which is one of the hardest years a student completes. It’s not just their grades that I am proud of. I am proud of who they are. They are conquerors. They are achievers. They are overcomers.