The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

Anjy Fadairo, Web Editor-in-Chief • June 17, 2024

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Senior Splash Day
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Sophomore to Hike Mount Kilimanjaro


Sophomore Campbell Swango, along with brother Jack Swango and their father Max Swango, will be hiking Africa’s tallest summit at the end of June. They plan to reach Mount Kilimanjaro on June 20, bearing 40-pound backpacks, hiking a total of 37 miles and enduring an average temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

But their adventure will begin much earlier. Almost three weeks prior to their climb, Campbell and Jack will travel 10,635 miles from Dallas to Paris to Abu Dhabi to Moshi, Tanzania, where the two siblings will spend two weeks volunteering at the Tuleeni Orphanage, a shelter that gives local kids a home and education.

Their two weeks volunteering at the orphanage is not a part of an organized program; instead, they were invited by the head of the orphanage, Mandy Stein. And, to fully immerse in the Tanzanian culture, their father Max made arrangements for the kids to sleep in the town hospital and a budget for their kids of $12 a day to spend on meals.

Max believes this will benefit his kids immensely.

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“I think it will be a great, confidence building experience for them, and obtaining a global view of the world is very important to helping them become more well-rounded people,” he said.

At the end of their two-week volunteering experience, the three Swangos will begin their hike alongside Stein, Stein’s mother and other volunteers at Tuleeni. Campbell and Jack will be the youngest on the trip.

And the orphanage will benefit from the climb, as well. The kids decided to start a GoFundMe page to raise money for the orphanage before their climb. The two siblings set off to raise $10,000 when they started their fundraising on March 9, and at press time they had already reached over $9,045. As a group, the climbers hope to reach a goal of $30,000.

“It is motivating to know we are doing it for the [orphanage] kids. Because I know it will benefit them for the rest of their lives, it is so worth it,” Campbell said.

Her father had specific reasons on why he wanted them to go on this adventure.

“First, social service; second, extensive travel; and third, every year I love for them to try something they have never done before, something completely outside of their comfort zones,” Max said.

To prepare for the 37-mile trek, the three Swangos hiked a few miles in Telluride, Colorado over spring break. However, this will be the first major peak any of them will summit.

“I have gone backpacking with Good Shepherd, but nothing like this,” Campbell said.

The hike, organized through Pristine Trails, a tour company based in Moshi specializing in Mount Kilimanjaro expeditions, is carefully planned out. They will start with less distance and altitude change in order to decrease possibility of altitude sickness, one of the challenges in hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

“I am nervous about making it to the top. My goal is really to drink a ton of water throughout the trip,” Campbell said.

Both Campbell and Jack are in good shape for the climb, and are involved in sports such as field hockey, soccer, basketball, football and lacrosse. But being fit and in good health does not guarantee making it to the summit. Altitude, weather conditions and possible injuries on the climb can affect them, hindering their chances of reaching the peak.

“We might not make it to the top but we’re hopeful,” Campbell said.

As well as being a physical challenge, Campbell’s father hopes this experience will help improve his kids’ education and make an impact on the lives of the less fortunate.

“You learn new things about the world, you learn new things about different people and you learn more about yourself,” Max said. “It forces you to grow and learn and evolve.” I’ve heard a lot about growing up, and I’ve heard nothing but incredible things.”

– Emily Fuller – Castoff Editor –

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