Letter: Help expand local students’ horizons

LEAPING INTO LEARNING: Asheville Middle School eighth-graders experience Jockey's Ridge State Park during a 2016 expedition to the Outer Banks. Photo by David Pagel

Asheville Middle School is a community where we embrace our strengths, recognize our potential and thrive in the pursuit of our dreams. As a school community, staff at Asheville Middle School pride themselves on providing each student with a variety of educational opportunities that enrich and reinforce what we teach. Over the past eight years, AMS has organized an extraordinary educational opportunity, specifically for our eighth-graders, that takes us to explore the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina.

This amazing trip is a huge undertaking for teachers and staff, but it is a labor of love, one that the school community embraces and feels is a necessary learning and life experience for all of our wonderfully deserving students. The importance of this trip cannot be underestimated. During the jampacked, three-day excursion to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, our students are exposed to a wide variety of academic and social experiences.

Not only do they have the opportunity to learn about our state’s history, investigate marine life, experience the ocean and visit historical sites that directly correlate with our state curriculum, but they also have the opportunity to bond with their peers and supportive adults during the trip. This educational adventure becomes a memorable experience that many will never forget, and most of all, it allows each of them to carry with them the shared experience of the beach — something they will forever have in common.

Regardless of their financial situations, we have dedicated ourselves to take all students who are interested in attending. Each year, however, the number of students in need of financial assistance outgrows our ability to fulfill our promise to take all of our students — around 30 percent of our eighth-graders require scholarship assistance, which means 65-70 students. In order to fund this trip and provide scholarships, AMS conducts site-based fundraisers; we are supported by our PTO; and we solicit support from local businesses and even our own staff.

This trip is life-changing for many of our students and may be the only opportunity they have to leave Western North Carolina. They deserve the opportunity to attend as much as anyone else. Checks can be sent/made out to Asheville Middle School, 211 S. French Broad Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. We also have a GoFundMe campaign found at [avl.mx/5tj]. Please consider supporting our efforts to get all of our kids to the beach.

Thank you,

— Joe Hooten
Eighth-grade social studies teacher
Asheville Middle School

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2 thoughts on “Letter: Help expand local students’ horizons

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    With $16,000 per student of taxpayer money being spent in the CITY screwls, please STOP your begging … let the parents fund this travel! shame for begging AMS!

    • Tracy Rose

      The families who can afford to send their children on this trip are paying the way for their own students. This fundraiser is to raise money to pay travel expenses for the students whose families can’t afford it.

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