Students Explore Iceland on Annual Middle School Global Education Program

Students Explore Iceland on Annual Middle School Global Education Program

On this year’s annual Middle School Global Education program, 12 Middle School students embarked on an unforgettable journey to the Land of Fire and Ice to explore Iceland’s geothermal wonders, icy glaciers, and a unique history and culture shaped by the island’s location and distinctive geography. Led by Head of Middle School Mary Frederick, Director of Library Services and MS Global Education Coordinator, Jillian Wolf, and Middle School Administrative Assistant, Stefania Sicilia, the adventure began with a visit to the Viking World Museum to study the saga of Iceland's Viking history. From here, the group explored the geological marvels of Thingvellir National Park, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates converge, and it is possible to stand both in North America and Europe simultaneously. Later, the group enjoyed a visit to Friedheimar, where they learned about tomato cultivation and savored homemade tomato soup straight from the greenhouses, a genuine farm-to-table experience.

The adventure continued as the group journeyed to the majestic Gullfoss Waterfalls and made friends with Icelandic horses, renowned for their unique gait and warm coats. A ferry ride to the Westman Islands provided breathtaking views of the Eldfell volcano, known as the "Hill of Fire," which last erupted in 1973. Students also enjoyed exploring a local aquarium, home to beluga whales and puffins. 

“Goal III of a Sacred Heart education is to teach students to practice effective stewardship of the earth’s resources and work to alleviate the climate crisis,” said Mary Frederick, Head of Middle School. “This trip was an education in  Iceland’s diverse plant and animal life, and our time spent touring glaciers helped us to actually see the visible effects of a warming climate. This is the beginning of civic responsibility on a global level.” 

The pinnacle of their Icelandic adventure was a hike atop Sólheimajökull, Iceland's fourth-largest glacier sitting atop a volcano. Despite the challenging terrain, students were rewarded with awe-inspiring views and learned insights into the impact of climate change on not just on Iceland but on the entire world.

Reflecting on their journey, students Julia T, Gia R, and Vivianna C shared, "We were pushed out of our comfort zones in conquering some truly challenging locations. However, our efforts were rewarded with breathtaking scenery at the summit, making every moment worth it."

“We are thrilled to have embarked on another chapter of our Middle School Global Education program with our unforgettable journey to Iceland,” concluded Mary Frederick. “This immersive experience educated our students about such topics as sustainability, volcanoes, Icelandic and Nordic history, and culture. Not only did they gain valuable knowledge,  but they also formed lasting bonds with their peers. Witnessing our students' growth, courage, and gratitude throughout the week was truly inspiring, and I am continually amazed by the depth of their engagement and enthusiasm. Providing such enriching experiences abroad for our Middle School students is a privilege that most middle schools don’t offer. I am grateful for Sacred Heart Greenwich’s commitment to global learning.”