Aquiles Comes to Hingham


Aquiles sits in Ms. Papuga’s room and leads a discussion on the Dominican Republic. (In the back from left to right: Leah O’Rourke, Caroline Milton, Maureen Kent, Abby Dansreau, Ms. Papuga, Caroline Mashburn, Emily Nash, and Meredith Noonan)

Liv Casey, Business Manager

On Monday, May 7th, a man named Aquiles Montas came to Hingham High school and spoke in all of Señor Griffin’s classes. Aquiles shared his experiences of being a fully bilingual individual and how he grew up partially in the Dominican Republic and partially in the United States. For many people, his visit was incredibly interesting and it helped inform students of real life Dominican culture. However, for the students that went on the service trip to the Dominican republic last year, the visit meant so much more.

Aquiles was the group leader for the Hingham High students that participated in the trip to Monte Cristi. During D block on Monday, Aquiles reunited with the students over pizza and shared memories in Ms. Papuga’s room. The students shared emocional pictures from the trip and reminisced on their most cherished recollections of their time in Monte Cristi. Junior Kayla Collins remembers, “one time, after one of our classes, I was packing up and I grabbed one of the whiteboards and markers we were using and then went out into the hallway to catch up with my group and I ran into two older girls that I wasn’t teaching…one of the girls asked me my name, took the whiteboard and marker from me, and wrote I love you Kayla. That really stuck with me and I still have a picture of the whiteboard on my phone today.”

Memories like the one Collins shared, were common amongst those that sat with Aquiles and talked about their experiences. For the students who went on the service trip, it can only be described as junior Maureen Kent puts it, “ life-changing, the experience was just completely life-changing.” Many of the students who had forgotten the memories from their time in the Dominican Republic felt a rush of remembrance with Aquiles’ visit.

Mr. Swanson, also a member of the 2017 service trip to Monte Cristi, was kind enough to host Aquiles in his home for his short trip to Boston, and allowed the students a much appreciated chance to catch up with him. Aquiles shares, “ It’s a blast seeing all of you again and it’s amazing how we all got connected for just one week, but the memory stayed for such a long time. I definitely wanted to see you all again.” Aquiles felt just as grateful as the students did for the opportunity to finally reunite.

The program that Aquiles worked for, and that the Hingham High Students participated in is called Outreach360. Outreach360 specializes in organizing volunteers from all over the world to come into certain schools in the Dominican Republic and teach English to the students. Aquiles explains, while he was working there, “I really enjoyed the chance to give back to the kids and give back to the locals. To be a mentor and to show them the language, that is what I was doing. I showed them that if I could learn the language so could they.” All the students who were apart of this trip experienced this need to give back, and the need to be a mentor as well.

As for other students who are interested in the same experience, there will be another Dominican Republic service trip next year and it will be led by Ms. Roth. Aquiles shares that you should go, “to see the difference in the culture, to experience the difference in education, to see the life and enjoy it while you are there.” For any students who would like to go on this trip, there are flyers available outside Ms. Roth’s room. The students who went on the trip last year are all so thankful for the experience and are so grateful that they got to relive those life-changing memories with Aquiles while he was here.