Students to spend break helping out in Honduras
MIDDLEBURY — Most Addison County students will spend their upcoming winter break week chilling at home and hanging out with friends. But several of their peers will be spending that time doing some heavy lifting for a humanitarian cause a few thousand miles away from the Green Mountain State.
The local high school students later this week will be winging their way to Honduras, where they will help a struggling community that continues to rebuild its infrastructure a dozen years after being devastated by Hurricane Mitch.
“I’m very proud of them,” Middlebury Union High School science teacher Gayle Weiss said of the five students she and fellow teacher Larry O’Connor will chaperone on the trip to Trujillo, Honduras. “They have done a lot of work and put in a lot of effort.”
The MUHS contingent is made up of members of the Student Coalition On Human Rights (SCOHR). The group has, each year, raised hundreds of dollars for humanitarian causes in struggling nations, including Haiti.
Weiss said the group’s goal is to offer hands-on assistance in a needy country every two years. SCOHR most recently traveled to Nicaragua to help a community build schools and homes.
A series of successful coin-drops, T-shirt sales, raffles and other events have allowed the students to close in on their goal of raising $900 each to pay for their trip to Honduras, organized with great assistance from Rotary International member and former Addison County resident Tom Plumb. Plumb, former director of Addison County Community Action Group (now known as HOPE), lives much of the year in Honduras. He is a longtime Rotarian and an avid participant in relief efforts in that small Central American nation.
In addition to raising their room and board costs, the students are each contributing $200 to help buy supplies for the projects on which they will be toiling.
Plumb, in an e-mail to the Addison Independent, said scheduled work will include building classrooms at two schools and a multi-purpose cement playground at another school. Other work will include reforesting a watershed with 1,000 trees and building a 42,000-gallon water storage tank for a barrio.
“The Middlebury kids will probably be working on one of the classrooms,” Plumb said. “It depends where we are at with each project when they arrive.”
The five participating MUHS students are Kelsey Barry, Bronwyn Worrick, Linus Beiderman, Emma Marino and Sean O’Connor. They are scheduled to leave Feb. 18 and return Feb. 26.
They will be joined by a contingent of students from Brandon, Salisbury and Whiting that will include Molly Hornbeck, Harley Fjeld, Rebecca Pattis and Nina Gage.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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