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The Trinity Voice

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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

Relationships Reignited

Trinity-South Africa student exchange is back on
Students’ view from atop a hill overlooking Cape Town, South Africa. In 2019 three Trinity students traveled to there to kick off the start of an exchange program. Due to COVID, that program was put on hold, but it is now back on this summer.

   Trinity Prep students are always up to something, whether it be traveling across the world, participating in community service, or both. In 2019, three high school students got the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to work at Floreat Primary School. While there, they participated in one-on-one tutoring, helped as classroom assistants, toured the city and visited museums.

   As part of the same exchange student program, six South African students were scheduled to arrive at Trinity on March 5, 2020, however, COVID-19 unfortunately shut down all possibilities of this happening. Three years later, the exchange is back on, with the three seventh-grade students arriving this summer. They will be staying for two calendar months, leaving the last week in September. For the time the students are at school they will be one of us, following our curriculum and attending classes daily.

   According to Head of School Byron Lawson, who is primarily in charge of organizing the exchange, the host families for the students arriving toward the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year have not yet been determined. With parents graciously volunteering to host the students, final decisions will hopefully be made soon. 

   This exchange came out of a friendship Lawson formed with the Floreat Head of School Noel Isaacs about a decade ago. They first met at an educational conference in Cape Town where Mr. Lawson was delivering a paper on mentoring. 

   Mr. Lawson had always had the idea of an exchange, and with this partnership, the two made it happen. Now, Trinity Prep and Floreat Primary School students can enjoy all of the benefits that come along with international exchanges. 

   According to nonprofit global education company Ayusa, high school study abroad programs have been shown to encourage more open-mindedness.

   Mr. Lawson then supported Ayusa’s claims by explaining the positive impacts of travel. 

   “The impact of travel at the right time and the developmental stage for teenagers can be pretty incredible,” Lawson said.  

   Additionally, Lawson shared his own thoughts about how the students coming can help us learn more about what life can be like on the other side of the world. 

   “It’s a big world and I don’t think the internet made it smaller,” Lawson said. “I think the internet just showed how much we don’t know about people around the world. We have a lot to learn with our students, seeing kids who are growing up in an upstart democracy and giving them a picture of what’s possible.” 

   Furthermore, during a conversation Lawson had with Isaacs, he said that he wanted his kids’ hopes and dreams to be expanded when they traveled here to the U.S. 

   These opportunities will be available to students and even teachers, as Isaacs hinted at a teacher exchange and a yearly student exchange. 

   With this, students could have the chance to have an experience like Trinity Prep alum Jack Gawronski. A few years ago Gawronski went on the exchange where, along with helping in the school, he met Dennis Goldberg, who was one of eight people tried with Nelson Mandela. 

   Furthermore, Gawronski also witnessed a life that he had never seen up close before: poverty. 

   “…We drove past Khayelitsha, which is a very densely, heavily populated area of Cape Town and it is your image of third world poverty,” Gawronski said. “No paved roads or infrastructure or anything like that, and you see those things in commercials, movies and TV shows. It really doesn’t hit you just until you see it with your own eyes.”

   These two experiences were the most memorable for Gawronski, and he still remembers them to this day. 

   Through international school exchanges, students have the opportunity to gain a unique perspective on the world and develop valuable skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. With students traveling to us from the other side of the world, Floreat Primary and Trinity Prep students will reap the benefits of international school exchanges. 

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About the Contributor
Sofia Haddadin, Staff Writer
Sofia Haddadin is a sophomore entering her first year on staff as a writer in the News department. Outside of writing for The Voice, she loves participating in debate, playing the piano and running for the cross country and track team. She also enjoys playing with her dog and watching "Suits". Contact her at [email protected]

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