FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Some Canterbury Middle and High School students witnessed history last week when they were in Cuba the day Fidel Castro died.
The students traveled to the country as part of a Spanish trip.
“It was great seeing all the different cultures that they have there compared to us and really seeing what life is like there,” student Lauren Hadland said.
The group was led by Spanish teacher and Cuban native, Maria Hanewald.
“It was wonderful to hear them interacting with our guide, with the bus driver and with children we would meet,” Hanewald said.
They also learned a lot about Fidel Castro and took a picture in Revolution Plaza having no idea it would soon be filled with thousands of people.
“We woke up Saturday morning and there it was on the news,” Hanewald said.
That morning they learned Fidel Castro was dead.
“The mood was so much different compared to when we had already been there,” Hadland said. “Everyone was just very sad going about their day.”
“People were really sad,” student Miriam Dixon said. “It was a sad mood.”
But their trip wasn’t over. The same day he died they left Cuba for Little Havana in Miami where it was a different story.
“As soon as we got to Miami everyone was celebrating and cheering,” Dixon said.
The trip was going to be memorable no matter what, being the first in their families to travel to the country cut off to Americans for so many years, and now they can say when all eyes were on Cuba – they were there.
“I just thought it was a really cool coincidence and it’s something that you can almost sort of brag about to your kids and other people here and family members,” student Andrew Wojewuczki said.
“It was just unbelievable,” Hanewald said. “I kept thinking for this trip and for this to happen it was a crazy, crazy coincidence.”