Delphi Academy Students Return from Sri Lanka and Achieve First-ever Honors Accolades

From: Delphi Academy of Los Angeles
Published: Tue Jun 07 2005

Three high school students from Delphi Academy returned on May 21 from Sri Lanka after spending four weeks giving aid to trauma victims in several different cities across the tsunami-torn island.

Team leader, Teddy Zou of Montrose, led fellow Delphi Academy senior Nikki Dale of Lake View Terrace and Delphi Academy sophomore Sarah Malm of Glendale on a month-long trip to Sri Lanka, giving physical and mental aid to the tsunami victims of Sri Lanka. The students, ages 16-18, heard about the opportunity to take this mission when a Delphi Academy alumnus, Scott Curry of Pasadena, came back from volunteering in Sri Lanka and delivered a seminar to the Delphi Academy high school students. Curry assisted in setting them up with a group of volunteers and contacts in Sri Lanka. Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, the students teamed up with their group, made up of volunteers ages 20-40, and purchased and distributed many school books, writing materials, and children’s clothing at several refugee camps in two of the most tsunami-devastated cities of Sri Lanka, Galle and Matara.

"From the moment we arrived in Sri Lanka, the trip was filled with new and exciting experiences," says Dale. "One of the ways we helped was we went to a local, inexpensive store and purchased hundreds of items. We brought those items to local refugee camps as gifts for the children, which they really enjoyed. We then stayed with the children for a while and played games with them. We taught them to play [the American game] ‘Heads Up, Seven Up.’ The children enjoyed it so much that when we told them that we had to leave, they asked for one more round. We gave in and played one more round, but when we began to leave again, they pleaded for yet another round."

Dale also explains that they took the opportunity to visit some of the sites in Sri Lanka. "One night, we took some time to have a religious and spiritual pilgrimage to the top of a mountain called Adam’s Peak," he says. "At the top of this mountain is a stone that is shaped in the form of a footprint. Christians believe that this is Adam’s footprint (hence the name), and Buddhists believe it is Buddha’s footprint. There are many temples on the way up the mountain, and there is a large Buddhist temple at the top. Because we wanted to watch the sun rise, we left our house at around 9:00 pm. We arrived at the base of Adam’s Peak and started hiking at around 2:00 am. After hiking for a few hours, we arrived at the top at 5:30 am; the sun was expected to rise at 6:25. At the top, we found a vantage point from where we could view the sunrise and the valley below. The valley had a very beautiful green color. There were clouds in parts of the valley, which added to the beauty. Before we actually saw the sun, the horizon began turning orange. The sun rose in brilliant orange coloring, reflecting off of the large lake in the valley below. Watching the sun rise over a mountain behind a lake was a very amazing experience. I have seen many sunrises, and this was by far the most memorable. We were blessed by a Buddhist monk on our way down the mountain.

"Another trip we took," he explains, "was to an elephant orphanage, made up of injured and abandoned elephants. We had a chance to pet and play with the elephants. Sri Lanka is beautiful; we saw monkeys sitting on the side of the road and passed by many tea plantations."

So, how did these students interact with the natives? Neither Zou, Dale, nor Malm speak the language of Sri Lanka. "You’d be surprised," says team leader Zou. "Most of the Sri Lankans actually speak English and were more than willing to act as translators for those who didn’t speak the native tongue. The people of Sri Lanka really appreciate all that we are doing for them, particularly those who are volunteers and are traveling to their island just to help out. One native said to me, ‘There are good things and bad things that came out of the tsunami. The bad thing was the devastation that occurred; the good thing is that you came, you are here now.’ We met many wonderful people when we were there, such as the Mayor of Galle, who was so appreciative of everything we were doing, offering to help in whatever way he could. We also met Major Perakum of the Sri Lankan Army. He was very helpful and assisted us with our visas and transportation."

In order to take this trip to Sri Lanka, Delphi Academy seniors Zou and Dale had to put in many extra hours of homework to secure their spot in the graduating class of 2005. Upon returning, the team gave a slide show presentation of their trip to the Delphi Academy high school. Furthermore, this trip has earned them both the status of graduating with honors, an accolade never bestowed upon any Delphi Academy of Los Angeles graduate to date.

Reflecting on his trip, Zou is proud of himself. "Being able to step back from American luxuries, things we take for granted, I now really appreciate all the things I have in life and in America," says Zou. "I was very happy helping people out. I may be going back in July…we’ll see."

Starting next fall, Zou will be attending Occidental College with plans to major in biochemistry. Like his father, he wants to go into the business end of the medical industry. Dale has decided to go directly into his father’s business. Malm will continue on into her junior year at Delphi Academy.

Delphi Academy, located in Lake View Terrace, CA, is a private school offering year-round programs for kindergarten through high school students. Delphi Academy is licensed to use Applied Scholastics(TM) educational services.

Company: Delphi Academy of Los Angeles


Contact Information:
Rachel Reinhart
Delphi Academy of Los Angeles
11341 Brainard Avenue
Lake View Terrace, CA 91342
Company: Delphi Academy of Los Angeles
Contact Name: Rachel Reinhart
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 818-583-1070

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