Worth the Cost

West G. Students Shell Out BIG Bucks to Travel to Central America


An unforgettable trip to Costa Rica took place this past summer.  Even though school let out on June 3rd, some students were ready to further their knowledge of ecology in another country from June 14th through June 22nd. Twenty-seven students and three teachers (Mr. Mike Sustin, Mr. Bill Bryan, and Mrs. Chelsea Talty) took on this amazing experience together.

Mr. Sustin was the main man behind this whole trip. He went to Costa Rica in 2013 to scout out the place at a teacher workshop to see if it would be a good place to bring students. While he was there, he met a teacher from Colorado and they planned to bring their students at the same time in 2015. The kids from Colorado go to Brighton High School. The students from West Geauga were very friendly and welcoming towards them.

Prior to the trip, every student attending had to read Monkeys are Made of Chocolate by Jack Ewing. Coincidently a place they traveled to, Hacienda Baru, is the author’s wildlife refuge, so they had the privilege to meet him. In addition to reading the book, they had to keep a daily journal while in Costa Rica. There were specific assignments they had to complete and they did a lot of field studies. In the end, the work was worth it because they received a .5 honors weighted credit on their transcripts. The only requirement to go was that the teachers preferred everyone to have passed biology. The students also had to pay $2,680 per person. The payments were spread out over the course of a year.

To get to Costa Rica they had a 2 hour flight to Atlanta and then a 3.5 hour flight to their final destination. This was Regan Burk-Onda’s first time ever on an Airplane so she was nervous. On the flight back there was rough turbulence over the Gulf of Mexico, too. Mr. Bryan admitted to even being concerned about the flight. As Regan’s first flight was out of the country AND pretty bumpy, Mr. Sustin bought her first time “in flight” wings.

To learn more about the trip, stay tuned for Part II.