Field trip to Pong Phrabat Waterfall
The end of the school year is always a bittersweet time at HDS. At the end of each year we welcome the deserved break from all the hard work but we also say goodbye to our students that will graduate from the program. This year we had twelve incredible students graduate and we are so proud of their achievements. They will be greatly missed. Looking back on this last term, though, we have created some unforgettable memories and are happy to share some of them with you. In the last report, we left off with a small break for New Year's. The students resumed classes the 4th of January and the days after were very busy!
After the rice was harvested in November the soil was tilled and the fields were prepared for planting a vegetable garden. The students continued to build on their life skill training of farming and harvesting by planting and tending to many different vegetables. These vegetables, like the rice, contributed to the HDS lunch program and provided them with healthy, organic additions to their lunches. Admittedly, the students weren't too crazy about eating the vegetables raw but when the vegetables were cooked with chillies and different spices they seemed to be a hit!
The students continued to work hard in their classes and we had a new volunteer take over the English classes. The students finished their pen pal project and at the end were presented with a laminated book full of pictures of their pen pals along with typed translations of all the letters that were exchanged. The students were so excited when they saw the books for the first time. Our new volunteer also started an after school yoga program for the students and for many of the classes even the teachers and our school director joined in.
In January the center welcomed two groups of volunteers; one group from the University of Maryland and the other group from the University of Missouri. The groups consisted of 12-14 university students and as always, the volunteers were of great support to the center and the students. In their two weeks they repainted all of the playground equipment as well as painted the Carol House which had recently been refurbished. They even rallied together and gave the center's dog, Dum a much needed bath! This was a huge task in and of itself!
About the same time that the two volunteer groups arrived we had a film crew from the Polish Network TVN visit the center to do a documentary piece on DEPDC/GMS. The film crew was only in Mae Sai for a short week but it was enough time to film the many activities of the HDS. We were able to give them a closer look into the mission of DEPDC/GMS, the problems we face, the solutions we implement, and the children that we serve. We are really looking forward to seeing the documentary and hope to be able to share it with you soon.
In February the students were invited to participate in the annual event of Non-Formal Education Sports Day. This was then followed by HDS's own sports day. This year we had children join us from Baan-Nana, an NGO in Mae Sai that also serves at-risk children. For both days the students spent hours practicing and preparing for the friendly competitions. It is very obvious that these days are two of the most favored days of the school year.
The school year finished with a field trip to Chiang Rai. The students all gathered on the school bus and this year we made our first stop to learn about natural science at Discovery Center Chiang Rai. We then stopped at Wat Huay Plakang and climbed the 9 stories of stairs for a great view into the city and its surrounding landscape of rivers and mountains. After eating the lunch that was graciously provided by a former daughter, we made it to the final destination of Pong Phrabat Waterfall. The students enjoyed playing in the water and hiking to the top of the waterfall. On the way home almost every student was asleep on the bus using each other as pillows. It was a great end to a great year.
More than ever we want to extend our thanks and appreciation to all our generous donors. It is only because of you that we are able to continue with our mission to make a positive difference in the lives of our at-risk children. Your support provides opportunities that would otherwise not be possible. Thank you!
Yoga class at the Half Day School
Sports Day Parade at Mae Sai Stadium