Sixteen Gateway Christian School students travelled to the Dominican Republic recently to help build a playground and courtyard at a school. Contributed photo

Students from Gateway Christian School in Red Deer return from Dominican Republic trip

The 16 students helped build a playground and courtyard at a school

A group of Red Deer students recently returned from a life-changing experience in the Dominican Republic.

Sixteen Gateway Christian School students, along with four teachers, an educational assistant and a parent, spent 10 days in the country to help build a playground and courtyard at a school.

“It was a really cool experience to watch everyone, despite language barriers and different cultures, interact together. I saw a lot of genuine friendships being made,” said Leanne Hansen, student at Gateway.

“Stepping out of something I know, like our culture, and going somewhere and not just seeing the touristy parts, but what the country is actually like was really impactful as well.”

The group also brought various school supplies and delivered them to schools in the area.

The trip was part of an Intercultural Studies program at Gateway. Students have travelled to Nicaragua the past nine years, but due to unrest in the country, this year’s group went to the Dominican instead.

Debrah Kalonji, another Gateway student, said the biggest takeaway from the trip is “trying to be content with the happiness I have.”

“We are always searching for more than we already have and down there what they have in the moment is all they need and they are very content with that. They also value relationships and being with each other in the moment, which is something I think is important,” said Kalonji.

Jim Driedger, Gateway teacher, said students met several times over the past several months to prepare for the trip.

“We’d have discussions on other outreach, what poverty looks like, etc.,” said Driedger.

He said once they arrived, the Red Deer students made a presentation to students in the Dominican about aspects of Canadian life, such as Tim Hortons, snowboarding, snowflakes, hockey and maple syrup.

“They then presented the Dominican Republic to us. It was a cultural exchange,” said Driedger.

Plans to return to the Dominican in 2020 are moving ahead.

Send your news tips

Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer stamp-collecting event a hit, local club expected to start in fall

Postage stamp-loving Red Deerians can expect to have a place to gather… Continue reading

Red Deer woman one of three arrested by Sundre RCMP

The 19-year-old had numerous arrest warrants out of various jurisdictions

Businessman and volunteer named 2019 Citizen of the Year

John Donald’s parents and sister were each honoured previously

School leader named Red Deer Young Citizen of the Year

Leading by example at Hunting Hills High School

Suspects shot at pursuing police during crime spree

No police officers were injured in May 17 shooting

WATCH: Sunnybrook Farm Museum in Red Deer welcomes spring

Sunnybrook Farm Museum is celebrating spring in Red Deer. On Saturday, the… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Stan Lee’s former manager arrested on elder abuse charges

LOS ANGELES — A former business manager of Stan Lee has been… Continue reading

BCUC sets out process for gas and diesel price inquiry, set to wrap Aug. 30

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia Utilities Commission says it has set out… Continue reading

2 hikers rescued after darkness sets in on trail near Cypress Mountain

North Shore Rescue says it rescued two hikers caught in the darkness… Continue reading

Canada beats Czech Republic to advance to gold-medal game at world championship

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Canada’s latest win at the world hockey championship left… Continue reading

Rimouski forward Lafreniere, Prince Albert goaltender Scott earn CHL awards

HALIFAX — Rimouski Oceanic star Alexis Lafreniere has been named the Canadian… Continue reading

10 wounded as gunmen open fire outside New Jersey bar

TRENTON, N.J. — Authorities say at least two gunmen fired into a… Continue reading

Mississippi rep accused of punching wife issues statement

JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi lawmaker accused of recently punching his wife… Continue reading

Most Read