My name is Rachel Kirk and I teach French at Landry-Walker High School in Algiers on the West Bank of New Orleans.
Throughout the past two and a half years, I have been humbled by the insights and experiences of my students and their enthusiasm for learning. The progress that many of them made this year with just a few months of French has been incredible. Last year, after a lot of relentless fundraising, we successfully took 16 students on a 10 day trip to France and Spain.
One of my former students that went to France and Spain last spring was casually discussing a conversation he had in his Bard Early College class on city planning and public transportation. He was able to impress his professor when he cited his experience with the Paris metro system and the Barcelona tramways and academically compared the way in which the system of transportation is structured to New Orleans and what is culturally and logistically possible where. Another former Landry-Walker student posted a throwback Thursday picture of herself near the lock bridge in Paris on Instagram, stating how it was "always one of my dreams to go here". This experience for them was beyond life-changing, and many of the current college freshmen that went on this trip last year are now working to build studying abroad into their 4 year plan.
With that being said, we are going for round two, and trying to take 12 students to France and Spain again on a 12 day trip this spring, and thus have been working to raise almost $48,000. While many of the students are on the path to meet their goal in time, some of them are greatly struggling to meet their goal by our deadline.
I REALLY believe in my heart, mind, and soul, in the trajectory and mentality changing power of this experience. It is a tangible way to create an opportunity for my students that will allow them to value travel and the feeling of wanderlust, world language learning, cultural competency and global citizenship.
While in France and Spain, they will visit museums, sample local cuisine, and interact with cultures and customs that they've only studied in class. Many have never left New Orleans, let alone the United States, and would not typically have an opportunity such as this, yet they have an incredible eagerness to explore new cultures.
Our students are hungry for these new experiences and they have enlisted the help of friends and family but some of them are having difficulty affording the full price of the trip. Throughout this school year, students have worked to fundraise via selling concessions, coupon books, gift baskets, and so forth. This is a REALLY impressive group of students and they deserve this opportunity.
If you are willing donate, we would be so grateful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any quetions.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration,
French Teacher, Landry-Walker High School
Algiers, New Orleans, Louisiana
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