Hi! My name is Emily Cowell and I am a teacher at the Saipan Seventh-Day Adventist School on the island of Saipan. In case you don't know much about Saipan, it is a US Territory and is a part of the Northern Marinana Islands in the Pacific Ocean. I encourage you to look it up on a map, and if you do, just keeping zooming further and further in and eventually you'll find us! Our school is small, less than 150 students, with a very diverse population of students. We have native Chomorro, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Palauan, and American students. I teach 2nd grade, but I volunteered to be the 8th grade sponser so that I could help them raise money for their class trip in April. There are only five eigth grade students, and they are a great group of kids excited to travel to a new place. In years past, most 8th grade classes have stayed on this side of the world. While going to places like China, Japan, Korea, and even Australia, is exciting, I wanted them to have an experience they may not ever have again.
Back home in Ohio, many of the school districts send their 8th graders to Washington, D.C. for their class trips. It is an amazing experience for these students to be able to see things they only read about in books, like the White House, the Washington Monument, the Capital building, Arlington National Cemetary, all of the Smithsonian Museums, the Holocaust Museum, and Gettysburg, just to name a few. When you live where I do in Ohio, it is only about an 8 hour bus ride to get to D.C.. When you are on the other side of the world it's more like a full 20 hours of flying! However, I think it would be a life changing experience for these five students. Most of them may never have this opportunity again. We are very fortunate in that we already have lodging, transportation, and most of our food taken care of when we get to the mainland (thanks Pinto family!). The one drawback of this trip is the cost of the airline tickets. Right now a ticket costs about $1600 per person round trip. I have asked students to come up with $600 each on their own. The rest we will be fundraising. We have already begun our fundraising by having weekly ice keki sales (the Saipan version of a popsicle), and plan to have a bake sale at our school-wide Thanksgiving potluck, monthly movie nights out under the stars, and a silent auction. However, we still have a long way to go! For some of the students, personally raising $600 will be very difficult since most adults on the island make minimum wage no matter their occupation. I would love to ease their burden and raise enough money to pay for their entire trip.
I know many of you have helped me in the past by generously donating to help me buy supplies for my classroom, but I am coming to you for help again. I have a passion for educating students and giving them every opportunity I can to expand their worlds. How cool will it be that when they sit in their high school classes learning about the history of our country they can say, "I've been there!"
If you feel that you can give, any amount would be appreciated. I would also like to ask that you share this page on your social media so that it can reach even further than my small group of family and friends. You can also donate directly to the school by visiting the Saipan SDA School website and finding the donate button. You will be able to immediately print a tax receipt for your donation. My trip will not be funded by this fundraiser, all money donated will go directly to the students.
If you are not able to donate I understand and thank you for your time, however, I do ask that you pray for these students, for our fundraisers, and especially for our trip in April.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our trip and for whatever you can do to help us meet our goal!