Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Students from Poland, Ocho Rios High share experiences

Published:Tuesday | February 25, 2020 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
A mix of students from Ocho Rios High and the Blue School from Poland, along with crew members from the ship ‘STS Fryderyk Chopin’, during a trip to the Bob Marley Mausoleum in Nine Miles, St Ann
Mayor of St Ann’s Bay Michael Belnavis (right) with a crew member of the ship ‘STS Fryderyk Chopin’, during a reception in Ocho Rios
Students from the Blue School in Ostroda, Poland share a class with Ocho Rios High School students
The ‘STS Fryderyk Chopin’, docked offshore Ocho Rios
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Over 30 students from Ostroda and other areas of Poland, on an educational trip on board the sailing ship STS Fryderyk Chopin, recently participated in an exchange programme with their counterparts from Ocho Rios High School.

The itinerary had the Polish students visiting and sharing in classes at the Ocho Rios High School, with both sets of students visiting the Discovery Bay Marine Lab, then the Bob Marley Mausoleum in Nine Miles the following day.

The entire Polish aggregation, numbering over 50, also took time to enjoy some of the local attractions, including Dunn’s River Falls, and also went on a foot tour of Ocho Rios.

Ship captain Bartlomiej Skwara explained that the ship is used by the Blue School (a sail training project run by the STS Fryderyk Chopin Foundation) for sail training and the students, ages 14 to 17, are being trained in this area.

“This is an activity for young people to go to sail at sea and learn how to sail and how to live,” he said. “We originated from Szczecin in Poland, then we sailed from Poland to the Caribbean, stopped in Martinique, then Belize; next stop, here in Ocho Rios.”

Skwara said students usually spend from six weeks to three months at sea during training, with this group spending six weeks. At the time of their stop in Ocho Rios, they had been on the sea for over three weeks.

For Ocho Rios High student council president Tajay Powell, and Adrian Bonney, the experience was good.

“The experience was amazing,” Powell said. “I learnt that even though we’re different races, we united and had a successful day in terms of all the places we went and the experiences we shared; so I believe it was a great success, the whole exchange day programme.”

And according to Bonney: “It has been eye-opening. I’ve been introduced to a different language. I’ve learnt a lot from them, and they’ve learnt a lot from us at our school, especially on the topic of tourism.”

Mayor of St Ann’s Bay Michael Belnavis hailed the arrival of the ship, and said the visit was a result of the twinning of Ocho Rios and the Polish town of Ostroda in 2018.

“The twinning has had its economic benefits to the country and at the same time, the cultural experiences shared by both countries were on display as the students enjoyed themselves in Ocho Rios,” Belnavis said.