Brendan Kutler Foundation sponsors Semester at Sea cruise

Chronicle Staff

By Jordan McSpadden

Four students are getting an expenses-paid Panama Canal cruise as the school takes part in the first three-week Semester at Sea program for high school students before deciding if they will participate in a whole semester at sea for high school students.

Connie Lee ’12, Chloe Lister ’12, Vivien Mao ’12 and Sophie McAlister ’13 leave today and return Jan. 4.

Father J. Young will be on the trip with his wife.

Two of the students, Lister and Mao, will be writing a blog during the trip for The Chronicle.

The scholarships given by the Kutler Center Foundation pay for the students’ voyage as well as for the various ground excursions.

“I’m definitely amped about going to the native tribes of South America and interacting with them. That’s not even something you can do if you just visit; it has to be something special,” Mao said. “Also, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is going to be on the voyage and that’s unbelievable. He’s one of the most amazing people out there.”

The ship will start in Ensenada, Mexico and make stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Corinto, Nicaragua; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Panama Canal; Cristobal, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Roatan, Honduras; St. Thomas De Castilla, Guatemala; Belize City, Belize; Cozumel, Mexico and will end in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Whenever the ship docks, the students will have the opportunity to learn about the country they are visiting.

Due to growing security concerns in some regions of Mexico, the port call in Acapulco has been cancelled.

Instead of going to Acapulco, the ship will arrive a day earlier to Puerto Quetzal and will stay there overnight.

Other schools participating in Semester at Sea this winter are Derryfield School in Manchester, N.H., High Tech High International in San Diego, The Marlborough School in Los Angeles, Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, N.J. and Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela, Hawaii.

“I can’t wait to meet other high school students; I, generally, love to meet new people,” Lee said. “I have gone to summer camps that have varied in length from one week to six weeks, but I’ve never spent so much time on a boat. I’m really looking forward to this trip. I just can’t wait.”