Duke of Ed Peru Gold Trip: The Pleasure of the Unexpected

To be honest, I don’t think any of us knew what to expect when we stepped off the plane in Lima on day 1 of our adventure, not even the returning students. No two trips are ever alike, and the Duke of Ed Gold Trip to Peru was probably the most eye opening experience any of us ever had.

What started off as a 4-day community service project in the shantytown of Las Palmas, ended up being the most fulfilling and selfless event any of us ever did. From making cement from scratch to adding it to the first floor of a roof on a small building and everything in between, the 30 hours of service we did created lasting memories and unimaginable experiences.

From there we traveled to the city of Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Incan empire. Guided by Trans Andes co-workers—Alex, Olivier and Greco—our 4 day, 3 night hike proved to be a lot more then just 30 hours of walking over 75 km. The surreal scenery in the midst of a magical mountain range known as the Andes tired us all out, but made real trekkers out of us.

Needless to say only three people didn’t get sick at least once throughout the entire trip, the problem was never missing a bed to get better in, but rather always missing the day’s activities.

If there’s one thing I learned from this trip, poverty does indeed exist and is very real. But even in the saddest of conditions, Peruvians find a way to always smile and work from dawn to dusk to make their lives more accommodating to their community and to ours.

Nighttime was never without lack of activity. From long walks in the cool air through Lima, to dancing Salsa and swimming at Markham College, to playing soccer with locals before bed in a small village during our trek, the diesiocho LCC students and four teachers on this trip were really shown the true bright colours that Peru has to offer.

Folkloric dancing, insane water parks, high altitudes and positive attitudes kept us busy for 14 days, but what kept us going was the encouragement and willingness to aid others. This trip will no doubt stay in the minds of everyone on that trip forever, the only question remains, when will we be back? — Jacob-Ray Falutz ’12

Duke of Ed Gold Trip 2012: Peru Expedition Update

March 8, 2012

Upon my return to Peru, I did not know what to expect. I would soon find out that, although many landmarks were familiar to me, I was seeing everything in a completely new light. I was wiser and the shantytowns of Lima didn’t shock me. Rather they incited me to want to get to work immediately!

We spent four days in Las Palmas completing our community service project, which included a new set of stairs, a new fence, a fresh coat of paint and a new roof. By the fourth day, every student had mixed feelings about leaving Las Palmas. Although we may have been filled with excitement with the prospects of beginning the hike in Cusco, we would be leaving behind a community to which we had grown very close.– Emily Tiberi ’12

Five days ago, eighteen LCC students who would work on the service project in Las Palmas flew into the desert city, Lima. With last years experience doing the service project and the Salkantay Trek, I didn’t feel nervous. I was rather excited to see how things had changed over a year.

Every morning, when driving to Las Palmas, I noticed that the poverty levels hadn’t changed. The chaotic way of life and the number of shantytowns stacked on the desert was the same. It seemed as if I had not left Peru last March. When working at the community, the locals treated us with the same respect and warmth they had shown us in 2011. I remembered their names and faces and so did they. Under the scorching heat, we worked on the concrete roof until the very last minute. Today, we fly to Cusco. We are anxious about the hike, but at the same time, excited to walk the same path where Incas and adventurers explored.– Kenya Shatani (Pre-U ’12)

Duke of Excellence at LCC

If you read the “news” section of our website you will note that pomp and ceremony paid a visit to LCC last weekend – and it was impressive (see:  Students receive Duke of Ed Silver Award)!  LCC was the site of a special ceremony to recognize Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award winners across the province of Quebec, hosted by His Honour Pierre Duchesne, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec.

At the provincial level the Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen and our collective heritage – and also actively promotes Canadian values and programs that are symbolic of what we value in our country.

Mr. Duchesne is an ardent supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Program as it has a strong reputation and operates across Quebec, Canada and around the world in 130 countries.  It is a program that recognizes youth leadership, commitment and personal initiative beyond academics.  More than 7 million young people have participated since its inception in 1956.

All participants challenge themselves by involvement in four specific areas. A large emphasis is placed on skill acquisition and learning through service.

There are three levels of the award:  bronze, silver and gold – and last Saturday’s awards were all at the silver level.  Sixty-five were given to young Quebecers; impressively, more than 40 of them went to LCC students.  Earlier this fall, the Governor General of Canada, David Johnson, presented the coveted gold Duke of Edinburg awards in Québec City.  Thirty-eight LCC students were there to receive their Gold Award – significantly more than any high school in Canada.  What a fantastic indicator of achievement in our school.

We have outstanding students with a collective commitment to be leaders today and throughout their adult lives.  My personal congratulations to all award winners – very impressive!—Christopher Shannon, Headmaster