Travel for a Cause 2015 Winners Announced!

Teach for a Cause

CET International, in collaboration with CETUSA and AiDucatius Foundation, is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Teachers Travel for a Cause contest: Amanda Davis and Christy Tripp-Arkema!

The purpose of the Travel for a Cause contest is to focus a spotlight on the value of education in raising people out of poverty. These two teachers will be spending eight days traveling Ecuador with a visit to a school in Esmeraldas which is supported by CET International through AiDucatius Foundation.  We will be following their adventures while on their trip and checking in with them throughout the next year to see how their trip has impacted their teaching and their perspective.

Amanda Davis – Spanish teacher, Lewisburg High School, Olive Branch, MS

Amanda Davis in Mexico

Amanda Davis in Mexico

“One of the most important jobs of a teacher is to help students grow into productive citizens. With all of the wonderful modern advances, the productive citizen of the 21st century is globally-minded. As a teacher in the 21st century, it is crucial that my students are educated on the nature of today’s world, and the new skills that will be required for success globally. As Thomas Friedman said in The World is Flat, “One of the newest figures to emerge on the world stage in recent years is the social entrepreneur. This is usually someone who burns with desire to make a positive social impact on the world, but believes that the best way of doing it is, as the saying goes, not by giving poor people a fish and feeding them for a day, but by teaching them to fish, in hopes of feeding them for a lifetime.” I desperately want my students to be social entrepreneurs who care about issues greater than themselves. I believe that providing them with a broadened perspective through the knowledge and experiences I gain on this trip is a crucial step in this process.”

Christy Tripp-Arkema –  ESL teacher, Byron Center High School and Middle School, Byron Center, MI

Christy Tripp-Arkema with her students

Christy Tripp-Arkema with her students

“Because I teach ESL, I have a lot of freedom in what I can teach in my classes.  I loved teaching the lessons on poverty and education in my higher-skills ESL class this year because of this essay competition.  My students were able to learn so much about poverty around the world, and we all shared stories with each other about the poverty we have seen or experienced throughout our own lives.  Next year I want to incorporate the same lessons into that same class (I will have different students), and also into my beginning ESL class.  Sharing stories about poverty and education, especially personal stories, is a great way to incorporate speaking and writing into ESL classes.  We learned a lot about research as we searched for stories about others who rose out of poverty due to access to education.  And the essay-writing process itself was a wonderful teaching tool that helped my students better prepare for writing essays in all of their general education classes.”

Ecuador 2015

CET International invites teachers from CET International and CET USA* partner schools to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an all-expenses paid learning trip to Ecuador!  Download the Ecuador Contest Flyer

Trip Details

Winners will depart from the US on August 17th headed for Quito, Ecuador where they will be met by an AiDucatius Foundation representative and a professional guide.  The group will be visiting a school in Atacames, Esmeraldas (a small coastal town) where they will have the opportunity to interact with students and meet with the local community to better understand local living conditions and the value of education in this Latin American country.  The group will also tour old town Quito, canoe and hike through the Amazon, and visit Otavalo and the Indian Market.  All activities, accommodations, meals and airfare will be provided by CET International.  Spouses are welcome to join at cost.


CET International supports the AiDucatius Foundation in providing access to education for children of extreme poverty in Africa and Latin America who might otherwise never attend school.  For more information, visit

How to Enter

  1. Interested teachers must create and present a lesson to their class on the root causes of poverty around the world. The lesson should serve as a brainstorming session for the essay assignment.
  2. Teachers will assign their class an essay on the importance of education as a tool to fight poverty and to give people an opportunity for a brighter future (maximum of 1,500 words).
  3. Teachers will review and choose the best essay to represent him/herself in the contest. The essays should be submitted along with this form to by May 1st, 2015.
  4. The winner will be announced by May 15th on the CET International website, and via email and phone.

Upon completion of the trip, teachers are asked to make a presentation to their respective schools on their experience in Ecuador and to send a trip report to CET International which will be shared with the AiDucatius Foundation.

*Multiple teachers from the same school can compete!

About Us: 

CETISince 1995, Council for Educational Travel, International (CET International) has been providing student exchange opportunities with a mission of “building bridges across cultures through education and international/intercultural experiences.” As an extension of our international exchange programming for high school students, we have created this exchange opportunity for high school teachers.

CETUSA FullCouncil for Educational Travel, USA (CETUSA) is a not-for-profit international student exchange organization coordinating cultural exchange experiences for high school students, university students and young professionals.  The CETUSA mission is “reaching out to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding”.  CETUSA is a US Department of State Exchange Visitor (J-1 visa) sponsor organization.

aiducatiusLogo AiDucatius Foundation believes every child has the right to a safe and poverty-free life, no matter where they live and that education is one of the most effective tools to fight poverty and give people an opportunity for a brighter future.  With corporate partner support, AiDucatius pays for school tuition, examination fees, school books, uniforms and shoes, enabling more than 1450 children in Africa and South America to attend school.

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