Catlin Gabel High Schoolers to see history in the making in Cuba

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Press Release

Feb 25, 2008

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nadine Fiedler

503-297-1894 x301

Catlin Gabel High Schoolers to see history in the making in Cuba

Cuban ministry of education invited Catlin Gabel to visit

A group of 25 Catlin Gabel high school students will participate in a “people to people” humanitarian and educational trip to Cuba for 11 days, from March 23 to April 3. There they will witness history in the making as Cuba begins its life after the long rule of Fidel Castro.

In the past four years, since the U.S. government tightened restrictions on travel to Cuba, it has been rare (if not impossible) for a school group to visit Cuba. This visit was made possible by a personal invitation from the Cuban ministry of education to Roberto Villa, a Catlin Gabel high school Spanish teacher who led student trips to Cuba in 2001 and 2003. Villa met with the ministry in 2007, and they formally invited him to visit again with a Catlin Gabel group.

The main purpose of the trip is humanitarian, with the students and their chaperones carrying medical supplies, as well as school and athletic supplies for their Cuban counterparts. The letter they carry from the minister will allow the group to visit schools and organizations, as well as towns, that are outside of the “official” list of places to visit. During their 11 days in Cuba, the students and teachers will meet with Cuban health care officials, teachers, students, cultural leaders, and icons, including the renowned film director and screenwriter Humberto Solas.

All 25 student travelers are studying Spanish at Catlin Gabel, and all will have a chance to speak the language with the Cuban people they meet. They will experience firsthand Cuban society, arts, and culture, which they have studied in class, and will perform in a Cuban school as ambassadors of our own culture. They will also have a chance to discuss US-Cuban relations with Carlos Alzugaray Treto, a former diplomat who serves as coordinator of international strategic studies at the Center for the Study of the United States (CESEU), and with a group of young student leaders.

About Catlin Gabel

Catlin Gabel serves Portland and the world as an educational catalyst, drawing together dedicated educators, motivated students, superb curricular resources, and thoughtfully applied technology, in a beautiful and functional setting, all for the purpose of forming bold learners who become responsible action-takers for life. Catlin Gabel is an independent, non-sectarian, progressive coeducational day school serving 730 students from preschool through twelfth grade. Its roots go back to the Portland Academy, founded in 1859. The school occupies 54 acres on Barnes Road, five miles west of downtown Portland.