Piers to Palm Trees: SHS Visits the Galapagos Islands


SHS students and staff posed for a group photo when they visited the Galapagos Islands

For the first time since COVID, Scituate High School went on an exhilarating school trip out of the country. 

In February 2023, 31 SHS students and five adult chaperones went on a week-long trip to the Galapagos Islands. The student body was made up of 25 girls and six boys. The teacher chaperones were science teacher Charlie O’Driscoll, Spanish teacher Sarah Brady, and special education teacher Roxanne Griffin. Two nurses were also on the trip: O’Driscoll’s sister and Brady’s husband.

After flying into the mountainous city of Quito, Ecuador, the group had a quick turnaround for a flight to Baltra Island the following day. From Baltra, the group traveled to the islands of Isabela for a day, Santa Cruz for two days, and San Cristobal for a final day in the Galapagos before arriving back in Quito for a two-day stay. Eventually, the group returned to Scituate after a final six-hour layover in Miami. 

The group spent over ten hours taking boats between the islands alone. So much water travel led to consistent 5:00 a.m. mornings and stomach sickness for many students. This unfortunate sickness was likely due to dehydration, bumpy boat rides, and local water for brushing teeth. O’Driscoll emphasized that “it was so hot, and the Sun just sucked the life out of everybody.” Aside from the minor sickness spells and an encounter with a group of grumpy Argentian tourists, the group generally had an extraordinary experience.

When asked about the trip’s highlights, students had one consistent answer: snorkeling. The Galapagos Islands are known for their amazing wildlife above and below the waterline. Brady said, “We got to see sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, and all kinds of fish.” Max Allen, the only junior boy on the trip, also noted that the group saw blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies, flamingos, iridescent fish, and “a lot of really cool crabs.”

Experiencing Carnival, an Ecuadorian celebration of abundance and prosperity before Lent, was another fun part of the group’s trip. Allen noted the festivities included concerts and exciting plazas for the students to enjoy during their free time before dinner.

SHS senior Jesse Rees reflected on his experience, stating, “It was really fun. It’s a good experience, good time.” O’Driscoll is already looking into potential locations for the next international excursion, which will likely take place in 2025. SHS senior Joe Masuret, who enjoyed this year’s trip, said, “If the school keeps offering these trips, you should go on them.”