Students work towards rebuilding the shoreline during the annual Spring Break Service Trip. MHS students traveled to help communities affected by hurricane Michael in Mexico City and Port St. Joe, Fla. (Media by Amy Blumenfeld)
Students work towards rebuilding the shoreline during the annual Spring Break Service Trip. MHS students traveled to help communities affected by hurricane Michael in Mexico City and Port St. Joe, Fla.

Media by Amy Blumenfeld

Annual Spring Break Service Trip Approaches

January 19, 2023

After a three year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spring Break Service Trip has returned.

This year, from March 18 to 24, students and staff volunteers will travel to Fort Myers, Florida, to help the community in lieu of the devastation of Hurricane Ian in September. The trip is open to students of all grade levels.

Sophomore Principal Dr. Dan Ramsey has coordinated the trips since 2012, and is working with United Way to orchestrate it this year.

“We look to see if there’s adequate work, safe situations, and if we can find good community partners to work with,” Dr. Ramsey said.

Ever since starting the trips, students have been able to travel to not only benefit others and their communities, but to find themselves and earn up to 24 hours of community service.

“Over a thousand students have gone, over 24 thousand hours of service have been done,” Ramsey said. “It’s just an amazing way that we can make a difference outside of Marquette.”

In an email sent to parents about the trip, they were encouraged to bring their kids to an informational meeting regarding the trip where they would be able to sign up to go and learn more about what it would entail.

Colonel Gary Wamble, ROTC instructor, has attended service trips in the past and is invited on this year’s trip.

“It’s very enlightening to see kids give up their personal time to go down and help out others,” Wamble said.

As a chaperone, Dr. Wamble will be in charge of a group of students and will oversee them while they work. The student service groups travel to different work sites each day to experience a variety of service and to make the largest impact on the community.

“The trip itself is great for service learning because kids are able to go down there and help people who’ve been affected by the hurricane and disasters around it,” Dr. Wamble said.

Archie Ramsey, sophomore, has attended the service trips before with their dad, Dr. Ramsey. Archie even experienced the trips before they were a student at MHS.

“We had planned a trip to Georgia for Spring Break in 2020, but, of course, COVID canceled that plan,” Archie said. “It would be nice to be able to do it again.”

They have enjoyed the experiences of getting to travel with their father and giving back to a devastated community, while also getting to enjoy a vacation. They have been on relief trips to both Florida and Texas.

“It’s important for students and staff to go on the trip because they’re giving a service to a community that really needs it after how much destruction was caused,” Archie said.

Associate Principal Dr. Tracy Waeckerle chaperoned a Spring Break trip to Houston, Texas, six years ago. About 100 students went on the trip to help repair flood damage, Dr. Waeckerle said.

“It’s always a really good group of kids that go and want to be there for the right reasons,” Dr. Waeckerle said.

The trip gives students a chance to explore a new city and connect with other students, Dr. Waeckerle said.

The service work consisted of cleaning houses that had been flooded. Students disposed of ruined furniture, put up new drywall and replaced ruined landscaping.

After a day of service, Dr. Waeckerle said the group went on fun evening outings including a country music concert and rodeo.

“It’s a good way to spend your Spring Break where you’re giving back to the community, but you’re also having fun,” Dr. Waeckerle said.

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