Constitution High School students are raising funds for a service trip to Mexico.
This year, a diverse group of high school students is working together to secure a rare opportunity among Philadelphia public students – the chance to travel abroad. The students, members of Constitution High School’s Spanish Club, are planning a trip to Mexico for April 2013. The agenda includes several days of service at a Mexican orphanage as well as visits to cultural and historical sites. Despite limited resources, the students have committed to raising over twenty thousand dollars for travel expenses. Through their own efforts, they have already raised over three thousand dollars. They are seeking additional funding to make their dream a reality.
In the past sixth months, students have raised funds by soliciting donations, designing and selling school apparel, hosting a “Dia de los Muertos” haunted house and dance, and organizing a holiday “candygram” sale. Every Friday, students also prepare home made Mexican cuisine to sell to classmates and teachers during school lunches. The group has also created a website that includes updates, photos, and a link to a PayPal account for online donations.
Aside from school field trips, many of the Spanish Club students have never traveled outside of Philadelphia. They understand, however, that international experience is crucial to developing the skills and perspectives necessary to succeed in today’s world. One Spanish Club member, junior Alia Richardson, first developed an interest in traveling abroad while attending Independence Charter School, a K-8 school with an international focus and an emphasis on shaping global citizens. At Constitution High School, she has continued to develop her interest in Spanish, international affairs, and service to the global community. She now plans to major in international business in college, and she is determined to become fluent in Spanish. “Going to Mexico will broaden my horizons and expose me to new adventures,” says Alia.
Another Spanish Club member, junior Charmira Nelson, plans to devote her life to the arts. She has already won accolades as a slam poet both locally and nationally, and she was recently named a finalist in a city-wide monologue competition. For Charmira, visiting museums and galleries in Mexico City will “really open my eyes to the way another culture expresses itself.” But art is not the only draw for Charmira. After months of fundraising, she believes the trip will be well worth the effort because “it’s not just a vacation; it’s service.”
Dr. Thomas Davidson, principal of Constitution High School, lends whole-hearted support to the Spanish Club’s ambitious endeavor. “The Spanish Club’s plans to travel and explore Mexico coincide perfectly with our academic philosophy, which includes a prominent service learning component,” says Davidson. “Sending this delegation to Mexico will enrich the lives of these students, and when they return to share their experience, it will make our entire school community that much richer.”
The Spanish Club has already received many generous donations in amounts large and small. One donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, made a matching gift of one thousand dollars. “Seeing how other people live their lives and beginning to understand our differences is the surest way to learn that we are all so much the same,” explained the donor. “Traveling internationally and experiencing other cultures should be required of every student in America.”
Despite this strong support, the Spanish Club is still a long way from reaching their goal of twenty thousand dollars. This spring, they hosted a Cinco de Mayo event, complete with dinner and dancing. They also intend to reach out to local foundations and businesses for grants and donations.
|Events and ProgramsConstitution High School Spanish Club Water Ice Sale
Saturday, June 2, 1:00 PM- 3:30 PM
Students will sell water ice outside of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens in order to raise funds for their future trip to Mexico.