Dot students return from 8-day visit to Cuba

Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy took a hands-on approach to teach their students about Afro-Cuban history and culture this year: They traveled to Cuba for an 8-day excursion. The 23 middle school students were among the first in the City of Boston to visit Cuba in decades.

The trip took place during April school vacation week and the itinerary included Old Havana, New Havana, historic forts and national monuments, sugar plantation in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, tobacco cultivation and the role of art and music in Cuban culture as part of the school’s travel abroad program.

The program is designed to correlate with the school’s mission, which per the school’s website is “to develop high-achieving students of good character who use problem solving, communication and interpersonal skills to inspire others and to catalyze educational, economic and political advancement within their communities and the broader nation.”

The students put their mission into action with core community service efforts before their departure and gifted the town of Guanabo with various school supplies and sports equipment that they collected through a school-wide donation drive.

The 8-day trip further explored what the students were learning throughout the year about the history of the African diaspora, specifically aimed to teach the students about the Cuban Revolution, the Embargo and the relationship between Cuba and the United States.

The trip also exposed the students to Cuba’s activities, like horseback riding, Salsa and Bachata dance lessons, various trips to local museums, and a visit to one of Cuba’s most beautifully decorated neighborhoods, Fusterlandia.

Students at Helen Y. Davis Leadership academy have been traveling abroad since 2007 and they have visited Senegal, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Guatemala. The trips are funded by student fundraising efforts and parent donations.

For more information on Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy, see