Nearly a dozen Plumas County students and their few adult chaperones are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.
They’ll of course need funding to get there, so for the next couple of months, eight students from Indian Valley Academy, Quincy High School and Chester High School will be at many events and outside Safeway and Evergreen Market trying to garner support for their trip and projects in Uganda.
This will be the second time Indian Valley Academy’s Sue Weber has led a team of students and adults to Uganda for a project-based learning experience. Weber has also led trips to Honduras and Haiti.
Two students who went on last year’s trip will now become leaders on this year’s trip. One Indian Valley Academy alumni of the Haiti trip, Dylan Beck, will help lead the team. Tyler Pew, co-director of KidMob, will also accompany the students on the trip. Greenville High School alumni Pew has partnered with IVA on prior projects.
The trip emphasizes a connection between students in rural places who might be struggling with the same rural challenges. Rural to Rural. In this case, they will be exploring the similarities and differences between beautiful Plumas County, with beautiful rural Uganda.
The two projects the students will be working on in Uganda are continuing a goat project at the Great Lakes High School from last year and building a preschool building.
The preschool building is a particular challenge. Currently, a teacher named December Lazarus has opened a free preschool in his home, which accommodates 50 preschoolers. The students are given, along with the beginnings of an education, one free meal a day. A larger building would accommodate twice as many children.
On Jan. 27, at their first fundraiser outside Safeway, the students raised nearly $2,000 in cash from donations and a bake sale. Some Plumas County residents who weren’t able to make the bake sale then donated a little more to round the day’s take to an even $2,000.
There are more events planned. On Feb. 3, students staffed a booth at the Groundhog Day Festival and held a bake sale outside Evergreen Market.
In March, the students plan a soup night and presentation at the Indian Valley Community Center, though no date has been set. They also plan another bake sale outside Holiday Market in Chester. Donation jars are going up at events and businesses in Indian Valley, Quincy and Chester.
For organizer Weber, it’s important that students are invested in making the projects and the trip happen. There’s no going on the trip without the hard work put into preparation beforehand. In that sense, the students are taking ownership in the preschool and goat projects — the whole trip from beginning to end — a project-based learning experience.
Questions about the trip, the Rural to Rural program or donations can be addressed by calling Sue Weber at 258-6634.