TERRE HAUTE —
Students and teachers from Terre Haute North and South Vigo high schools saw three years of hard work pay off Monday afternoon as they lined up eagerly at the doors of a school bus to start a long ride to Washington, D.C.
There they plan to explore the nation’s capital and learn more about African-American cultural and historical roots.
For Kierra Dandridge, president of North High School’s African-American Club, a high point will be visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. monument — and proofreading the memorial for texts of his speeches that she knows so well.
Visiting the King memorial is also at the top of the list for Mae White, South High School’s African-American Club sponsor.
Calvin Hutchinson, a junior at South, was looking forward to a change of scenery and stronger friendships. “I am very excited for the trip to D.C. because I want to meet new people and get to know my groupmates better,” he said.
And North’s African-American Club sponsor, Erika Cantin, was focused on history: “I can’t wait to accompany the students to learn more about the civil rights movement. The more you learn the more you don’t know.”
The group plans to stay in Washington through Friday.
Students from both schools have been raising money to fund the trip through such efforts as bake sales, bingo and selling coupon packets.
North’s Dandridge said her club has had more than 20 car washes and held soul dinners to fund the trip.
“We have raised the money little bits at a time,” she said. “After three years of planning and raising money, we finally got it.”
South’s Hutchinson was glad for the chance to travel. “The farthest I have been away from here is Kentucky,” he said. “I am glad we finally raised the funds to go.”
From a sponsor standpoint, watching students achieve something over a course of years makes Cantin proud.
“Seeing them stay committed to the work that raised the funds really speaks volumes about the students,” she said with a smile. “Everyone around the school knows what we have been doing and thinks it is wonderful.”
Reporter Dustyn Fatheree can be reached at 812-231-4255 and at dustyn.fatheree