WHITE ROCK – A group of Grade 11 students from White Rock Christian Academy arrived home safely late Tuesday (March 24) after being robbed at gunpoint in Guatemala.
The students were in the country for the school’s annual serviceleading trip, during which Grade 11 students would "engage in hands-on experiences, build relationships and learn about the customs and cultures of Guatemala," according to the school’s trip outline.
The school has been sending Grade 11 students to Guatemala annually since 2009 without nary an incident, until this past weekend.
According to a release, on Saturday a group of students and several adults were approached by men holding guns and asked to lie down on the ground. Once down, the group’s belongings and backpacks were taken from them.
The students had reportedly been playing soccer with a group of locals when the incident occurred.
Following the robbery, it was decided that the group would head home immediately.
"Many of the students are understandably disappointed with their trip being shortened," reads the release. "The school’s main priority is the well-being and safety of the students and staff. Upon their return, the school will be provided counselling services for the students, their families, and staff members involved."
For this year’s trip there were 26 Grade 11 students and four adult chaperones, including a nurse and the school’s principal.
Despite the incident, the school appears to be undeterred from taking future trips.
"At WRCA, we believe that a holistic education requires more than learning at a desk. We believe that service-learning opportunities, at home and abroad, provide an excellent opportunity for students to develop compassion for others," reads the release. "As a school we remain committed to service-learning, and will learn from this event so that we can continue to provide these opportunities in as safe a manner as possible."