Staff and teachers at Esperanza Elementary School are appealing to the community for help in sending 29 fifth-grade students from the inner city on a five-day science field trip to Yosemite National Forest.
Although funds have already been raised by the students themselves as well as parents and a few local merchants, Esperanza Principal Rowena Lagrosa said the school is still short by at least $700 as the children prepare to leave on April 3.
The cost of the trip per student is $300, which includes transportation, lodging, meals and tuition to the Yosemite Institute.
The students, who were chosen for the trip based on good behavior and citizenship, have been raising funds since the beginning of the school year, selling snacks during school recesses and collecting pledges for each book they read.
They have raised between $3,500 and $4,000 on their own, Lagrosa said. The children’s families have also contributed money toward the trip, and local businesses have donated a total of $1,000. Lagrosa hopes more businesses can step in to pick up the slack.
The students spend three days learning about ecology, environmentalism, Native American cultures and early pioneers, in addition to hands-on science activities in botany and geology.
Last year’s trip, paid for with funds from a candy drive, was such a success that one teacher even attended training classes at the institute to better prepare this year’s group of fifth-graders.
“It was so enlightening for them,” Lagrosa said. “Most of these kids have never had any sort of experience with nature, because they’ve always been in town.”
The children will be accompanied by four teachers and encouraged to keep journals of their experiences to share with other students once they return. A video record of the trip will also be made to share with other students.
Because many of the students’ families cannot afford to buy them extra clothing for the trip, the faculty is also asking for donations of jackets and other warm clothing.
Donors will be acknowledged on flyers circulated to parents, listing the services provided by businesses who have donated, and on a banner to be displayed in the school’s main office, Lagrosa said.
Esperanza Elementary School is located at 680 Little St. Information: (213) 484-0326.