Bronx Preparatory High School students visit Senegal to get immersed in culture and history
Less than 20 students from Bronx Preparatory High School, a Title 1 home to more than 400 students, were selected for an all-expenses-paid trip to Senegal, West Africa.
Principal Cassius Gil says the visit left a “life-changing” impact on students.
“They're much more appreciative of their school, of being in the Bronx, of their own families,” he says.
The children who were chosen for the competitive weeklong trip were fully immersed in the culture. Some students say it felt like a homecoming.
“My background is Senegalese, and I never had a moment to go to Africa for the first time,” said student Fouday Singhateh.
For many of the students, it was their first time ever leaving the country.
“We want to make sure our kids can see and experience what they're learning. Two, we want them to have cultural capital,” says Regional Superintendent Emmanuel George.
While fun was had and games were played, the true focus was learning.
“They go to a place called Goree Island, which is traditionally a launching point for slave ships that have then traveled west, and that's always a poignant and emotional part of the trip for them,” Gil says.
It was an emotional experience that the students say they won't forget.
The trip is part of the school's Global Citizens Program where they prepare students to be future leaders.
“Test scores are great, strong discipline is great but what are you doing to feed the whole child and I think travel is a huge part of that,” George says.
The school will also be sending students to Maine this summer and abroad again next school year.