The group of TJC students and faculty that traveled to Costa Rica in May returned to Texas with many unique stories and experiences.

“I couldn’t be more pleased and more proud of our students and faculty. I thought all along that we had the best faculty and this just confirms it,” Michael Metke, president of Tyler Junior College, said. “They were such great role models and represented TJC in such an outstanding manner.”

The trip started off with two days of community service projects.

Originally, the service project they were going to offer aid to was a school Metke helped establish with the Peace Corps in 1967 in Los Lilas, Costa Rica.

However, the construction permits needed were not gathered in time for the project to be completed on this trip, but Metke and others from TJC did visit Los Lilas to donate school supplies and clothing.

The volunteers were, however, able to find alternative service projects with help from local citizens.

The first project was painting the exterior and interior of a middle school in Quebrada Grande.

“Our group and members of the community worked together to paint the school,” Fred Peters, TJC director of marketing and public information, said.

Some local students that attend the school worked alongside the TJC students in painting the exterior of the school.

“We were over there marrying together two cultures and to help and prove something,” Peters said.

The second project the team completed was painting a high school called Escuela Dos Rios.

Betsy Ott, professor of Biology, and two of the students that attended the trip helped provide English lessons at El Consuelo High School.

“We’ve had a language barrier, obviously, but I think we have been able to communicate,” Casey Phillips, a Spanish major at TJC, said. “It was a good experience.”

After the team finished the service projects, they went on to their recreational plans.

The team saw the Hotel Ocotal on the pacific coast, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano National Park and San Jose.

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