Students Attend Round Square Conference in Peru

On April 5, Keala Henry ’22, Cyrus Farman-Farmaian ’21, Caroline Keswin ’21, Emily Heimer ’21, Madeline Loeffler ’20, Mrs. Carmen Dockery-Perkins, and Ms. Kristin Glasheen departed campus to attend the Round Square conference in Lima, Peru.

Round Square is an international program that unites 200 schools in 50 different countries that all share the same IDEALS (Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership, and Service). The theme of this particular conference is “together into the unknown,” and is structured around the Round Square IDEALS.

The conference officially began on April 10, but in the days leading up to the conference, the students traveled and learned about Peruvian culture. The delegation spent the first few days exploring Cusco where they ate exotic foods (like alpaca), visited local shops, learned about Peruvian history, and toured Machu Picchu before they flew to Lima for the conference.

On their first day in Lima, the students listened to two speakers: Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chung and Ms. Karissa Becerra Biaggioni. Dr. Pun-Chong won the CNN Hero of the Year Award in 2018, and Ms. Biaggioni is an entrepreneur who created an initiative that incorporates food and science to work towards educating young people. Then, the students separated to meet their Peruvian host families with whom they lived with for one night before they went camping, and then for four nights at the end of the conference. The delegation returned to Lakeville on April 18.


Day 1:

On their first day in Peru, the students explored Cusco, tried eating alpaca, and visited local shops.


Day 2:

The delegation toured the Sacred Valley as they headed towards Machu Picchu. They visited Pisac on market day and Ollantaytambo (a town that was part of the Incan Empire).


Day 3:

The delegation explored the 4th wonder of the world, Machu Picchu on their third day in Peru. The students were fortunate enough to visit the sundial near the top of the mountain, especially since it will soon be closed to the public due to damage from tourists.


Day 4:

On their last day in Cusco, the delegation visited the Inca museum, the Temple of the Society of Jesus, and visited a local Shaman. The students even tried cuy (pictured above), a delicacy that is native to Peru.


Day 5:

On the fifth day in Peru, the students arrived in Lima and had breakfast with Hotchkiss alumnus Richard Custer ’94. The opening ceremony occurred later in the day and was held at the San Silvestre School. Two speakers spoke at the conference, Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong, the CNN Hero of 2018 and Karissa Becerra Biaggioni who began a food and science initiative. At the end of the day, students split up and met their host families for the first time.


Day 6:

The second day of the Round Square Conference was a designated adventure day. The students had no idea what the plan was for the day, but eventually discovered that they were going mountain biking, white water rafting, zip lining, and scaled down a rock wall using only a rope. Keala Henry ’22 and Cyrus Farman-Farmaian ’21 said “The challenges of the day really changed our perspectives on our own abilities, and gave us confidence to explore our limits.”


Day 7:

The third day of the conference was a designated service day where students were able to build houses for Peruvian families that lost their homes in the 2007 earthquake. After dinner, students were able to visit catacombs below their hotel that used to serve as tunnels for transporting slaves.


Day 8:

The students arrived at their camping grounds at the San José Manor House in the province of Chincha .


Day 9:

On Saturday, the delegation finished building their houses and packed up their belongings. They also tried homemade Peruvian food, including sopa seca. They took a bus back to Lima and reconnected with their host families for the weekend.


Day 10:

On Sunday, the students spent the day with their individual host families and each had different experiences. The students were able to explore more of Peru and continue learning about its culture.

Towards the end of the conference, they started combining numerous days into one email. I did my best to figure out which days are which but am not 100% positive that these are completely correct.