At the Half Day School, we believe in the importance of a holistic education. It is especially important for our students to learn vocational skills, train in human rights, and develop community awareness alongside their academic subjects. One key factor of this is going out into the community to learn about its history and the issues that it faces. Recently, many our students participated in a trek to Wat Phra That Doi Tung where students spent the day learning about different communities as well as their own.
Wat Phra That Doi Tung is a wat (temple) that sits on top of Doi Tung, or Mount Tung, which is the tallest mountain in Chiang Rai Province. The temple sits at approximately 1,400 meters above sea level and the journey to the entrance is steep and rigorous. Wat Phra That Doi Tung was built in the 10th century and in the style of the Lanna kingdom with two golden stupas, one of which is said to contain the left collarbone of the Buddha. In combination with awe-inspiring architecture and stunning views of Thailand and Myanmar, this has made Wat Phra That Doi Tung a major draw for devout Buddhists and tourists alike.
The field trip began with an air of excitement as students piled into the school bus for what was certain to be an exciting change from the normal school day. Students laughed and chatted as the bus took sharp turns towards Doi Tung. There was a humming of anticipation throughout the short but winding bus ride to the point where everyone would begin the 2-kilometer trek.
After hopping off the bus, students and staff began the journey up the mountain road towards the temple. The misty weather was ideal for the trek as it kept everyone cool throughout the demanding hike. Students enjoyed the fresh air and the great exercise up the mountain! Once the students and teachers arrived to the temple, it was time for a lesson. Students broke off into groups based on grade and were assigned different types of communities to examine: family, their villages, Thailand, Asia, and the entire World Community. The focus of this project was the importance of human rights and environmental protection and how these themes are related to the health and well-being of all these communities.
Around noon, students were given a quick break from their studies to enjoy a delicious lunch with the special treat of rambutans, a red plum- sized fruit native to Southeast Asia. After lunch, all of the students played educational games together organized and led by Teacher Ming. The trip concluded with a lecture given by head teacher, Alinda Suya, and presentations of the students’ projects.
Finally, after a long day of hiking, learning, and games, it was time for the students to head back down the mountain. The bus ride to the students’ homes was significantly quieter, as happy but exhausted students were ready to relax. The next day would continue with presentations of the students’ projects and more discussion of human rights and community empowerment.