UPDATED: DC school group needs $14,000 $6,000 more for Cuba trip

"Nomadic" Matt Kepnes (center) with Anacostia High School teachers and students

“Nomadic” Matt Kepnes (center) with Anacostia High School students and teacher Kathrine Avila (far right)

JISHOU, HUNAN — Students from a Washington, DC, high school plan to visit Cuba next month, but they still need another $14,000 $6,000 to make it possible. I’m hoping my readers can help them out.

Although the students and teachers have received financial and logistical help from the Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE) for their first ever trip abroad, their CrowdRise fundraising drive is nearing its Aug. 6 deadline with $29,682 raised for a $35,000 goal.

Most of the students at Anacostia High School in southeast DC are from low income families, and without financial assistance, it would be unlikely they could attempt such a journey. FLYTE was founded by travel blogger “Nomadic” Matt Kepnes specifically to assist students in rural and low income areas to benefit from travel abroad.

In her application, their Spanish teacher stressed the learning goals for the trip.

“In the area in which I teach, most students’ personal goals are limited to a range of about five years. As a result of their circumstances, most students are not exposed to the possibilities outside their immediate surroundings. The main focus for students at Anacostia is to graduate, as the rate of graduation lingered at approximately 46.4% for the 2014-­2015 school year. For many of my students, traveling abroad alongside their peers and teachers is somewhat of an unreachable dream,” says teacher Kathrine Avila, who submitted Anacostia’s application.

“This (trip) certainly has the opportunity to change their perception of their passions and aspirations. We know our students’ views of societal structure as well as personal accountability will begin to evolve. Many of the students interested in studying abroad are also those who aspire to attend college. Traveling to one of these countries could serve as a bridge toward enlightenment, which would propel our students toward continuous learning.”

As someone who has had the opportunity to travel widely, I agree with Kepnes and FYLTE’s goals. Travel is the best education, as the saying goes. Visiting Cuba would afford them the chance to practice their Spanish skills, and see how people is a different part of the world live.

I’ve contributed. How about you?

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