February 1, 2012
Feb. 1, 2012—Four CFISD social studies teachers will travel to Saudi Arabia during spring break through an all-expenses-paid trip sponsored by the World Affairs Council (WAC) of Houston and Aramco Services.
Cypress Lakes High School teachers Shelby Touchy and Andy White, Cypress Springs High School teacher Katherine Cantu and Aragon Middle School teacher Ross Flood were selected for the trip, set for March 9-17.
According to WAC spokesperson Emily Bruxvoort, about 90 candidates applied for the trip, while only 10 Houston-area teachers were selected.
The WAC promotes better understanding of the world—the people, politics, economies and cultures—enabling citizens to participate more effectively in the global community. It has hosted prior teacher trips to China, Vietnam and Cambodia, Turkey, Russia, India, Canada, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The planned Saudi Arabia trip will feature a tour of the Saudi Aramco compound, visits to Jeddah and Riyadh and interactions with local teachers who can share their education experiences.
Touchy said she anticipates the valuable interactions between educators.
“I am looking forward to traveling with other teachers who share an interest in the Middle East. We will be able to help each other figure out how to use our experiences to enrich our students’ learning,” she said. “Having several teachers from the same district will allow for some amazing lesson planning.”
Cantu looks forward to sharing her travels with students in her geography classes.
“Being selected by the World Affairs Council of Houston and Saudi Aramco to travel to Saudi Arabia is the opportunity of a lifetime. I never expected I would be selected, and am still in a state of disbelief,” Cantu said. “I cannot wait to bring my experiences in Saudi Arabia back to my Geography classes, and to broaden my own travel experiences.”
White said he looks forward to the “chance of a lifetime” for a geography teacher.
“I feel honored to be selected by the World Affairs Council to participate in this program,” White said. “Saudi Arabia is vitally important to world culture, economics. I can’t wait to bring back valuable firsthand knowledge of such a vital piece of this puzzle we call humanity.”
Flood, who has much experience living abroad, said he is excited to serve as CFISD's lone middle school representative.
"I am thrilled to be chosen by the World Affairs Council of Houston. As a middle school teacher I introduce different cultures to students with enthusiasm," he said. "I grew up living in different countries but have never had the chance of visiting Saudi Arabia. I can't wait to get there."