IB seniors Graham Heifner and John Shin install new siding on a damaged house with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans.
For most students, a typical spring break is a time to relax and do as little as possible.
For 30 students from Hoover’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, however, this year’s spring break was anything but typical.
The students and their chaperones spent their spring break in New Orleans learning about local and global history as well as taking part in local service projects.
After arriving in New Orleans by Amtrak’s Southern Crescent, students toured the Louisiana State Museum and learned to navigate the French Quarter.
Other highlights of the trip included a day at the National World War II Museum, seeing a show at historic Preservation Hall, and learning about the haunted history of New Orleans.
For many students, the trip provided a close-up view of things they are studying in the classroom.
“The WWII museum was amazing,” said junior Ilissa McIntosh-Williams. “I loved how every exhibit told a piece of the story. There was one that looked like a half burnt wall of a house and another that looked like an Italian villa.”
Students met and spoke with World War II veterans, including an ace fighter pilot and a former POW.
The IB seniors spent Thursday with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, painting one house and restoring the siding of another. IB juniors worked with the New Orleans Mission, where they prepared lunches and distributed them to homeless and elderly residents.
Students found the service to be equally challenging and rewarding. Senior Destiny Ford observed that “the damage Katrina left is still present, and many people are still working hard to make things better.”
Senior Alexis Turek found the contrasts of New Orleans surprising, noting that “such a beautiful city, which clearly takes in a lot of money, could still have so much poverty within it.”
– Submitted by Brad Coltrane.