Thursday, August 21, 2014


Dear TTS24 Family and Friends,

It’s been a whirlwind of days getting to Washington, DC. Parents and students began filing in from across the US and Panama yesterday. We congregated at the Residence Inn near Dulles Airport for a few brief moments (or so it seemed), and then the group of 16 students and 4 teachers began their journey.

Part of the DC Crew
While Beth and Katie filled yesterday’s afternoon hours shuttling back and forth to the airport for pickups; Mary Reid oversaw numerous pack checks; and Sarah manned TTS24 headquarters, greeting students and parents as they arrived, offering advice and keeping track of flight times. As the group headed to dinner, we were still missing Marisa, Caroline and her mom. The entire group finally converged in time for official introductions and a slideshow. All together we equaled: 16 students, 4 teachers, 10 moms, 6 dads, 3 brothers, a sister and a sister-in-law (plus “teacher Beth’s” soon-to-be niece or nephew). Wow. What a crew. We know those of you who weren’t able to join us were there in spirit. Understatement of the century.

Katie, Sarah, Beth, Mary Reid
Swim Practice
The teacher team orchestrated the first days with grace, and the students withstood the initial awkwardness and jitters that come with being thrown together before a life-changing adventure. By the morning, anxiety gave way to anticipation. Students chatted together at breakfast, completed swim tests, stuffed their packs and duffels and said their final goodbyes. By lunchtime, the TTS24 students eagerly hoisted packs on their backs and began shuttling to the airport.

By mentor groups, teachers took students through the paces of cinching down straps, checking in, and prepping to go through security. After my mandatory final hugs, the group headed towards their departure gate. Students had ample time to synchronize their watches and then set out for the traditional TTS Airport Scavenger Hunt. I wonder how many students were able to snap a photo with an octogenarian or identify the Malawi flag hanging in the international terminal?

As my plane readied to pull away from the terminal, I received my last text from the teachers, “All sixteen on the plane. J

Kudos to all the friends and family who have supported these girls and their teachers to prepare for this moment. We know how much effort it takes to get to this point. We hope you’ll follow this blog and use it as a place to create a record of the semester. Use it as a place to have a dialogue among parents, students, teachers and friends.
TTS24 Group Shot
Let the adventure begin.

Sending my hugs to all of you too,


  1. Thanks for the post, Jennifer. Nice to see all of those smiles!

  2. What an AMAZING group of girls and teachers. Sophie and I ( Danielle, Hannah L's mom) were just blown away (and certainly relieve) by the collective experience and warm hearts of all four of the teachers. Our girls will most certainly grow leaps and bounds just by being in their presence. Way to go TTS. Thank you for helping to provide our girls with such a life changing opportunity. Here's to hoping they all take full advantage of this most special gift.