The Lions Leave Lousiana by Senorita Hedrick

Leaving New Orleans was bittersweet. It was nonetheless as interesting as our adventure in to the city. Some students were waiting anxiously in the lobby at 10am ready to head back to Cleveland while others were hoping we might extend our stay. Roger, Josh, and Matt were once again helpful in loading up the van with all of our luggage (including my 5lbs of lotions and shampoos, high maintenance I can assure you I am not!) Reluctantly, we finally got Josh his Jamba Juice that he had pleaded for day and night from day one.
JAMBA JUICE!

We managed to return our van (after a scenic tour of the airport) and make our way through security to wait for our flight. Students grabbed some last minute PoBoy’s and Jambalaya before departing the city. Our flights were smooth and the kids were obviously winding down. Upon our arrival into the CLE, I was delighted to hear several of them chatting up our trip with some new friends they met on the plane.
waiting impatiently!

I could not be more proud of the kids on our trip. I so appreciated their optimism, willingness to take on every new task and adventure with an open mind, their courtesy to one another and those around them, as well as working together to create change. Our hope is that they will be continue their great volunteer work somewhere in the future and tell stories about what they witnessed in New Orleans.

As Marcel challenged us to remember, even a pebble makes a ripple in a large lake. Thank you for the fantastic memories! Also, I would like to thank the parents and colleagues back home who supported our journey!
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Oak Alley Visited

Hey ya’ll! Kyra here! Yesterday was rather extravagant! I had the best food since being down here at a local hole in the wall called the Corporation Grill. I had red beans and rice and it was amazing!!!

We also toured Oak Ally plantation, which I was most excited about.
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The movie Interview with the Vampire was filmed there along with many others. The house has an extensive history and has traded hands a few times too. It is an absolutely gorgeous planation home.
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Along with the tour there was an on-site civil war historian whom Carlos and I spoke to for nearly a half hour. He really knew his stuff. This made Carlos and I “late” getting back to the van, prompting Ms. Garza to send me a text saying “You have 2 mins to get to the van or we’re leaving you here”. Don’t worry, we made it back in time!

This week has been an absolute blast, with good friends, great food, and beautiful weather, what could be bad?
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by Kyra W.

Back in New Orleans

It’s great to be back in New Orleans. This city is one of the best places I could think of staying for spring break. The food, the environment, all of it we saw here over the past few days. Yesterday we went to Café du Monde and we had delicious beignets. It was a good conclusion to our experiences with New Orleans night life.
Beignets

by Carlos S.

Reflections from Anthony

This Senior Trip has been not just fun, but helpful to those involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When I saw what kind of living conditions some people were living in, it made me cry that nobody has started to help these people down here in New Orleans yet we help other people in other nations. These people that live in these conditions are always smiling. They don’t scowl and frown that they lived in a trailer; they enjoy life. It has taught me to be grateful for what I have. Also, there has been some funny moments like when Mr. Iorillo hammered his hand.
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by Anthony G.

Last day of Volunteering

Today was the last day of working on our house for the St. Bernard’s Project. I must say that I have been so impressed with the amount of enthusiasm from our kids (and the teachers!) working on this project. We started the week in a house with some insulation and bare studs in the walls and when we left today, all of the drywall was completed and most of the mudding and taping had been done. We started the week unsure of our construction skills and left with a much better understanding of not only construction but our own abilities to learn and master new tasks!
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We were all also so impressed with the home owner, Marcel, who is such an inspiration. He has been driving from Mississippi each day to work on his house. In his “spare time”, he champions his neighbors and especially the day laborers who work in the neighborhood, even making breakfast for the neighborhood every Friday morning. Because of the conditions of the neighborhood which include many houses that are still empty or inhabitable, theft is fairly common. Marcel’s partially finished house had been robbed previously twice of all of its copper wiring! He has to create panels over his windows and door to prevent thieves from trying to break in, which he has to put up each night.
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So he was extremely happy to see all of the drywall up to prevent any “loose” wiring from being stolen again. Although we were invited to Marcel’s weekly Friday breakfast, we couldn’t attend due to a booked schedule for us on Friday, but we all felt compelled to contribute food items that Marcel could use towards the breakfast. He was most appreciative for the juice, breakfast bars, muffins and pastries, bagels and other food items that the teachers and students donated.

We all feel that we have accomplished so much during our volunteer time this week. While in the grand scheme of life, it was a small contribution, just putting up a couple of dozen sheets of drywall, it felt so good to transform raw materials into something close to being someone’s home. We all were driven today to finish as much as possible so that we weren’t leaving any task undone that we could possibly do. As one of the volunteer coordinators we talked to today said (in paraphrase), small contributions collected with other small contributions eventually turn into HUGE contributions. We are so proud to be part of the big picture of rebuilding Marcel’s house and the city of New Orleans.

I would like to personally commend all of the students who came with us on this trip. They have worked extremely hard and tirelessly on the project. While most had no experience in doing any of this type of work, they all stepped up and really adapted to tasks outside of their comfort zone. Some excelled in leadership roles while others took direction well to complete tasks, even the ones they didn’t necessarily like! I think the experience has not only exposed our students to volunteering and helping someone who needs assistance, but it also really challenged them in areas of problem solving and critical thinking skills with a real-work issues and tasks and I am glad to say they all rose to the challenges!
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While our 2 days on our trip won’t be for volunteering, I will always fondly remember our students dedication and commitment. Thanks!

–Miss Sally Garza

My Week So Far!

The trip so far has been amazing! I have long waited for this trip. The cold weather in Ohio was too much. Shorts and t-shirts are what’s up! We have done a lot of work from the St. Bernard’s Project and I have been doing drywall. Putting up drywall can be a lot of fun and a lot of work. But to me, it’s fun.
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We had dinner at the Nola’s Restaurant and that had to be by far the best restaurant I have ever been to.
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I’m excited to see what’s to come Friday and Saturday.

by Greg E.