Local News in Brief : Valley Student on Trip to Give Aid to Ethiopia

A North Hollywood High School senior is expected to arrive in famine-wracked Ethiopia today to help oversee distribution of medical supplies purchased with contributions from schoolchildren in Los Angeles.

Oliver Benjamin, 17, is accompanying Sabrina Moore, a 17-year-old Gardena High School senior, and Los Angeles school board member Rita Walters on the trip. Oliver and Sabrina will be the first American high school students to visit Ethiopia in connection with the relief efforts, school officials said.

City schoolchildren staged dances, "jog-a-thons" and other events to raise more than $250,000 for medical supplies, officials said.

Walters said the school board decided to send a contingent to Ethiopia to ensure the students' money was going directly to the relief effort and to provide a first-hand experience for students.

Oliver, who left from Los Angeles International Airport after attending his school's senior prom Friday night, said he was apprehensive about what he might encounter on the trip. "I grew up in the suburbs. I know that what I see won't be anything I've ever seen before," he said.

The delegation is scheduled to spend three days in Ethiopia. Local business and World Vision International, a relief agency active in Africa, are paying for the trip, school officials said.

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