Students Prepare for Peru Trip This Summer


Photo courtesy of

The Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru is one of the places the students will visit this summer.

Imagine gazing at the astounding view of glorious mountains while standing within the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. What about seeing the colorful lights and beautiful architecture in Lima? These are some activities that a portion of the middle school student body will experience this summer in Peru.

The trip, led by Spanish teacher Mr. Charles Maddox, eighth-grade history teacher Mrs. Anne Franzen, math teacher Mr. Matt Oster, and seventh-grade science teacher Mrs. Stephanie Oster, will begin on May 31 and end on June 12.

The trip is open to rising eighth and ninth graders, and right now there are 22 students committed. Maddox’s hopes are that it will introduce the Peruvian culture to the students, while also opening their eyes to what life is like for others around the world.  

“It’s my hope that after this trip, students will realize how fortunate we are in the U.S. and the many blessings that we have in this country,” he said. “They will have a greater appreciation of other countries and other cultures that you can’t find in America.”

Some people do not even have much water to drink in Peru because it is polluted. According to, “With a total population of 31 million Peruvians, three million lack access to safe water and five million lack access to improved sanitation.”

Another reason Maddox wants to take the students to Peru is to deepen the students’ understanding of the Spanish language. “One of the goals is for Spanish speakers to practice, feel comfortable, and to learn as much as they can,” said Maddox. “[I am looking forward to] seeing our students in a different environment, and seeing them use their Spanish and realizing they know more than they think they do.”

Maddox feels comfortable taking students on the Peru trip for a number of reasons. “When I was at St. Mark’s, I traveled [with] the students quite a bit, so I wanted to keep doing that here [at TBS]. [The Benjamin School’s] reputation is pretty solid, so students and parents would feel comfortable traveling with me and other teachers.”

Maddox debated whether to take students on a trip to Europe or South America, but ultimately chose the latter.

Photo courtesy of
The breathtaking view from Machu Picchu is one the students will surely remember.

“[I chose] Peru because I have never been there,” he said. “I prefer South America over Europe. I think generally it is an easier trip and it is cheaper, [and] I have never been to Machu Picchu or to any of the places we are going.”

Seventh grader Hannah Reece is looking forward to the Peru trip. “I’ve always wanted to go [to Peru] and it looks really cool,” she said. “We’ll have a guide with us the whole time, and [a paper] that tells us everyday what we are doing.”

Highlights of the trip will include a visit to the capital city of Lima and exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu.

According to, Machu Picchu, also known as “Lost City of the Incas,” was a well-known symbol of the Incan Empire and sits 7,970 feet above sea level on the Andes mountain range overlooking the Urubamba River. The native Incas were the largest empire in Columbian America (the Northwest corner of South America) in the early 16th century. Built in 1450, Machu Picchu was abandoned by the Incas in 1572 when the Spanish took over Peru.

Many students can’t wait for the trip to Machu Picchu. “I think my favorite part is going to be seeing the culture of Peru and hiking in Machu Picchu,” said eighth-grader Sydney Steinger. “I think it’s gonna be a fun experience to travel to new places with my friends.”

Her brother agrees, and is looking forward to being with his friends in Peru. “I want to go to Peru because I’ve never been there before, and it sounds like an interesting place,” said eighth grader Jacob Steinger. “I think visiting Machu Picchu [will be fun] because I’ve heard a lot about it.”

Other students are excited to travel to Peru with their friends. “I think the Peru trip will be very exciting because I will be with my friends and I will get to learn about the culture in Peru,” said eighth-grader Matthew Roundtree. “I think my favorite part of the trip will be hanging out with my friends.”

Students also will have a chance to take part in community service during the trip.

“We are going to volunteer at a school and work with children [to] teach them English,” said Maddox. In addition, the students will also take part in a hands-on service project. “We are going to go to an ecological reserve and build floating rafts at a community out of bamboo,” he said.

The trip will not only allow students to see the world, but also give them an opportunity to bond with their peers and teachers, practice their Spanish language skills, and help the communities to which they are traveling.