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WHS Students and Teachers Traveled to Mexico this Summer

Thirteen Winnebago High School students and two teachers (Andrea Sotelo and Brian Benning) travelled to and spent eight days in Mexico this past summer. After an early morning flight out of O’Hare, the group landed in Mérida, Mexico. Mérida is located on the western side of the Yucatán Peninsula. There, they met their host families at the airport and went “home”. The students stayed with their host families for five days where they were immersed in the culture and were able to practice their Spanish.

While in Mérida, the group went on several excursions. There was both a walking and driving tour of Mérida and its landmarks. The students had several opportunities to shop in markets for clothing and other souvenirs. The group also visited the ruins of Uxmal, a Mayan city. There, they learned about the Mayan culture and its story and were also allowed to climb on and explore two of the buildings.

Students also participated in a humanitarian project while in Merida.  The group visited ‘The Love and Life Orphanage’ where they played games and talked with the children there.  Before their visit they stopped at a local supermarket and purchased items to donate to the orphanage such as toiletries, games and treats.


Before leaving for Isla Mujeres, the group celebrated the end of their stay in Mérida with a party. The students learned how to make tortillas and enjoyed a final meal with the host families. On the trip across the Yucatán to Isla Mujeres, the group made two stops. The first was at Chichén Itzá, the most famous Mayan city. Despite touring in the rain, the students learned about Chichán Itzá’s famous pyramid, nicknamed El Castillo (The Castle) by the Spanish, and its ball court. The next stop was at a cenote (pronounced “say-no-tay”) near Chichén Itzá. A cenote is a large freshwater well. The students learned about the formation of cenotes and also swam in it.


The trip ended with two days at Isla Mujeres, an island located off the coast of Cancún. After a fifteen minute ferry ride from Cancún to the island, the group checked into their hotel. While on the island, the students enjoyed exploring and shopping the market place in the center of the island, hanging out on the beach, and a snorkeling excursion. Two students and Mr. Benning even went on an excursion to swim with whale sharks.


The trip was a success in every way. The students experienced a new culture firsthand and a week of practicing Spanish. Mrs. Sotelo and Mr. Benning are thankful for the students that participated in this inaugural trip and hope to have another successful trip to Costa Rica in the summer of 2020.

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304 East McNair Road
Winnebago IL 61088

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