We couldn't bring your kids back from Ecuador.
We're really sorry, but a lot can happen in 12 days in South America.
In fact, when you jam pack an itinerary with hiking mountains, exploring villages, jungles, the mighty Amazon, learning tribal culture, zip-lining, white-water rafting, and course work, it's pretty much guaranteed.
Throughout the journey we encouraged every student to embrace a growth mindset on their own terms. As a result we saw students take on new challenges, overcome fears, create new bonds, new trust and a higher level of confidence in their decisions and their peers as well.
You might have noticed that the kid you dropped off at the airport came back a little different. No, we're not talking about little scrapes, the Amazon tan or the cool new haircut they scored for $10 in the village. It's something far less tangible, something quietly exciting in every way.
It's inner growth.
Sure, they might be centimetre taller if you measure them. But you'll find they might also look at the world a little differently now. Try new things, eat new food, listen a little longer and respect new learning opportunities that come their way from new people.
We believe travelling with students is invaluable. At home and miles from home.
It's exciting, and it's also a lot of work. Sure there's the occasional dash of stress, but at the end of the day, it's deeply rewarding to see the kids we teach every day - grow stronger, gain skills and evolve into the confident and enlightened young adults they all want to be after school. They are pure potential.
Downtime and choices are essential to all of us.
We also ensured every day had built-in options and every student didn't have to do everything. It's a balance we learn and work with daily at AVRO. As an alternative high school, we've always done things differently. So if a student needs a break from class to recharge in the lounge, we encourage it. If they need a back flip in a lagoon, well, that's even better.