It started like any other flag deck at Killybrooke Elementary School on Friday, but after a performance by the school band and the pledge of allegiance, the Costa Mesa school's sixth-grade students received an exciting surprise.
"All of us are going to camp," Principal Lorie Hoggard announced. "With Rock Harbor's donation we have met our goal. We're all going now."
Thanks to a $4,200 donation from Costa Mesa's Rock Harbor Church, Killybrooke can cover the remaining costs to send its students to sixth-grade science camp this March at Arrowhead Ranch
Each student also received a blue camp sweatshirt that they quickly donned.
The donation — combined with the students' selling chocolate bars and Popsicles, and recycling — mean students won't have to pay anything out of pocket.
It costs about $10,600 to send the school's 40 sixth-graders to camp for four days and three nights, according to district documents.
The announcement was glad tidings for the students, several of whom said their families couldn't afford to send them.
Jasmine Hernandez, 11, said the students have worked hard to raise the money, but she was a little afraid the class wouldn't have the chance to go to camp.
"It was really, really surprising. I thought we're going to have to raise a lot more money," she said. "I feel very happy."
If the donation hadn't come in, the students would still have had a science camp experience, but it wouldn't have been up in the mountains, Hoggard said.
Thanks to Rock Harbor's First Fruit ministry, the students will get a social experience while learning the state science standards, Hoggard said.
"They get an amazing, hands-on science experience that is hard to duplicate at the school," she said.
The donation was coordinated through Killybrooke parents and Rock Harbor members Heidi and Justin Fox.
The church's First Fruit ministry gives 12% of its annual budget to outside organizations.
"We as a church are looking for ways to contribute to the community, and specially with the school," said Justin Fox, who serves as Rock Harbor's Costa Mesa city pastor.