Originally published at tdtnews.com.
Temple High School students have just returned from a trip to Iceland, and on Monday, the school board approved their next big scientific expedition — a trip to Maui in 2019.
For the past three years, science teacher Jodi Bollinger has arranged educational trips for students over spring break. Her classes have gone to the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, and now Iceland.
Bollinger gave a presentation to the Temple Independent School District board of trustees.
“We’re just so proud of Jodi, because she, through her initiative, has taken her students all over the world,” Superintendent Robin Battershell said.
Bollinger thanked the district and the board for their support.
“I don’t think there are many districts that would give a teacher this kind of leeway to take students on these ... once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” Bollinger said. “Students who have been with me on these trips, they bring up the Galapagos and Costa Rica all the time — we’re constantly referring back to the science that they’ve learned in the field in the classroom.”
Past trips — as well as next year’s trip to Hawaii — were organized by Ecology Project International, an organization that allows high school students to join in on scientific research projects.
Previous trips have been paid for by parents. Some fundraisers are held for those who cannot afford the entire cost.
“It was a little bit different from our other trips,” Bollinger said. “This time it was more of a survey science trip where we got to learn a lot about not just the biology of the area but also the geology — we learned about archaeological digs with the Vikings and the whole history of Iceland. So it was a little more multi-faceted, and they also had the opportunity to get college credit on this trip.”
Student Mary Kate Montgomery, who has been on all three of Bollinger’s expeditions, spoke briefly about her impressions. Montgomery showed a compilation of videos she had taken with her GoPro camera, showing hot springs, geysers, and a hike on a glacier where the students were able to taste melted glacier water.
“It was the best water ever,” Montgomery said. “I got back to Texas and it just wasn’t quite the same.”
Montgomery praised Bollinger’s teaching methods both in and out of the classroom.
“I think a lot of people take traveling for granted, just check it off the list saying ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been to this part of the world,’ but it’s not just going places — it’s exploring places, it’s experiencing places, learning places,” Montgomery said. “I hope a lot of people get the chance to experience the global learning that I have in the past three years with the science department.”