Meet the 2018 Mission Trip Leaders

January 30, 2018


The mission trip to the Dominican Republic was the first trip created at Academy. (Photo Credit: Alex Smith/ Achona Online)

This year Academy with be sending eight mission trips to various places both in and out of the United States. The Mission trips this year will be going to the Dominican Republic, Mississippi, Scranton, Costa Rica, Appalachia, Nicaragua, Tampa, Ruskin, and North Carolina. Many of the trips have been in operation annually ranging from two to nineteen years. For each trip leaders are chosen to help guide the other missionaries. These are the leaders that have been chosen thus far.

Scranton Leader: Mia Leto (‘18)

This will be Leto’s second year attending the Scranton Mission Trip. She decided to be a leader this year because she felt her trip last year was positively enhanced by the leaders and she hopes to be that for the missionaries this year. She hopes to brings  a positive attitude  and a can do spirit to this year’s trip. Leto is looking forward to no opportunities for volunteering in order to help new people in Scranton.

Due to the extreme weather last year the trip spent most of their time shoveling and clearing different areas of Scranton. (Photo Credit: Sara Phillips/ Achona Online)

Costa Rica Leader: Julia Lee (‘18)

Lee attended the Costa Rica trip last year as well as another trip this past summer. She believe that these experiences with Samara Costa Rica would help her educate other missionaries going on the trip and better communicate with the organization. She is passionate about Costa Rica and cares about the impact she will make there and hopes to stay connected to Samara even after she graduates. She is excited to get to work because the area they will be visiting often does not get a lot of attention due to its secluded location, and the people there are so appreciative.

Last year, 2017, was Academy’s first trip to Samara, Costa Rica. (Photo Credit: Mia Lopez/ Achona Online)

Nicaragua Leader: Emma Heston (‘18)

This is the first year of the Nicaragua Mission trip. Heston will be one of the first leaders to lead the trip. She became a leader in order to take part in making it making it a special trip for this year and years to come. She hopes to bring leadership as the whole group experiences a new culture. She looks forward to exploring a new place while serving the people of Nicaragua.

Mississippi Leader: Amanda Lazzara (‘18)

Lazzara attended the Mississippi trip last year and decided to return as a leader with hopes to show other missionaries how great Jonestown, Mississippi is. She wants to bring her experience and an understanding of the work ethic needed for the trip this year. She is excited to get to know the people on the trip and work together with them to help Jonestown.

The Mississippi project last year was to renovate the Recreation and Learning center of Jonestown. (Photo Credit: Caitlin Weaver/Achona Online)

Dominican Republic Leader: Haley Palumbo (‘18)

Palumbo went to the Dominican Republic last year, and when asked to be a leader this year, she felt overwhelmed with the big responsibility. Since she is so passionate about the trip and believes it changed her, she decided to be the leader because she wanted to create that for others. Instead of viewing things as different while on the trip she wants to point out the similarities between them and the people there. She is looking forward to seeing how the new missionaries engage with the people of the Dominican Republic.

A big part of the Dominican Republic trip is getting involved and interact with the people. (Photo Credit: Alex Smith/ Achona Online)

North Carolina Leader: Gretchen Swenson (‘18)

This will Swenson’s second year attending the North Carolina Mission Trip. She looks forward to being a leader because she thinks it will be a great way for her to better know the adult leaders and students on the trip. As a leader she plans to bring hard work, determination, humor, and faith. Swenson is excited to get close to the other missionaries because most of them are not in her grade.

Annually the North Carolina Trip spends a day in town and does for random acts of kindness for the people of the Black Mountains. (Photo Credit: Gretchen Swenson/ Achona Online)
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