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WHS student travels to Cuba on first U.S. cruise in decades

By Staff | May 27, 2016

Tristan Mangum, a tenth-grade student at Washington High School, and his grandmother, Beverly Sanna, recently participated in a historic event. They were passengers on the first cruise ship to travel from the United States to Cuba in nearly 40 years. The pair was among approximately 700 passengers aboard the Adonia, a ship in the Carnival Corp.’s Fathom cruise line. Departing from Miami, the ship arrived in Havana, Cuba, on May 2 then continued its voyage around the island, stopping in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba before returning to Miami on May 8.

During their stops in all three cities, Tristan and Sanna visited local artists, musicians, business owners and families. They also visited schools to distribute more than 50 pounds of supplies collected by a third-grade class at South Jefferson Elementary School.

“I’d heard about the desperate need for supplies in Cuban schools, so I challenged my class to start collecting as much as they could for us to send down there,” said Sarah Mangum, Tristan’s mother and a third-grade teacher at South Jefferson Elementary. “My students and their families graciously donated items including paper, crayons, folders, markers, scissors, index cards and much more. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity they’ve shown.”

Richard Jenkins, principal of South Jefferson Elementary, praised Mangum, her son and her students for showing goodwill toward Cuban students. “We are proud of the level of kindness and compassion that we get to witness in our school each and every day,” Jenkins said. “Our teachers are modeling the caring characteristics that we hope to instill in our young students and encourage them to carry throughout their lifetimes.”

“This experience will most certainly be one that the students of Cuba, Tristan Mangum and Mrs. Mangum’s class remember for a very long time,” Jenkins added.

Visit boe.jeff.k12.wv.us to learn more about Jefferson County Schools.