Senior Graduates Early To Pursue Mission Overseas

by Zachary Weisenthal ‘19

 While the typical high school senior looks forward to spending their second semester of their senior year tapping the breaks and relaxing, Emma Bartoo has not slowed down. Bartoo will be graduating in January to travel to Guatemala, where she will spend the entirety of the semester and beyond volunteering in a girls’ orphanage. 

 Bartoo has traveled to Guatemala twice before with Camp Sonshine International and fell in love with the country and the work she completed. Bartoo spent her time volunteering at the Prince of Peace Home for Girls, working with both girls and boys with varying levels of English to make them feel safe and loved.

 “Our goal was to love on the girls in the home because they weren’t used to love like you and me,” explained Bartoo.  We wanted to share the story of Jesus Christ and tell them they always have someone, and that there is a plan for their lives even when they think there’s no hope. It wasn’t about building a well or painting a church. Many of the girls have been sexually or physically assaulted. One girl was dropped off [at the home] the night before her 11th birthday.”

 Bartoo’s religion and beliefs inspired her to go abroad on her first mission trip. As stated in Matthews 28:19-20, Bartoo believes that it is her responsibility to share the wisdom of Jesus Christ with those around the world.

 Being granted permission to graduate early is not a common occurrence at Sherwood. Luckily for Bartoo, she completed all of her required courses besides her fourth English credit prior to beginning her senior year. To satisfy her last requirement, Bartoo has been taking a second English class online, while also finding time to complete her college applications, school electives, and maintain a social life. Bartoo also holds a part-time job at Olney’s Club Pilates studio to save money for her trip.

 “My Spanish skills have definitely come in handy when overseas,” said Bartoo. She studied through Spanish 5 and is continuing to learn independently. To keep her skills strong, Bartoo keeps a daily journal in Spanish.

 Due to her father’s work in philanthropy, Bartoo has lived in Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and Maryland, exposing her to many cultures and walks of life. She attributes her interest in different cultures and love of people to her constant moving throughout her childhood.

 “So much of what I want to do in my life is international travels and learning about new cultures. Olney cannot offer me anything that I have not already been exposed to,” said Bartoo.