Four students from Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) are heading for Costa Rica for a two week trip undertaking conservation projects and helping at a Day Care Centre for some of the most deprived children in the country’s San Jose region.
The four sixth form students, Amy Chapman, Vera Hildebrandt, Ryan Rezazadeh and Jodie Trussler will be accompanied by PACA Teacher Sharon Durham and chair of Governors Honor Wilson-Fletcher on what promises to be the experience of a lifetime. Planning began for the trip last summer, with the students taking on responsibility for a wide range of task from fundraising to arranging the dreaded vaccinations.
Sharon Durham said: “As an entrepreneurial academy we wanted to design an experience that would help the students develop and test their skills, not only on the trip but in the planning as well. With the help of fellow students they have been raising funds to support the trip and also each taking responsibility for an aspect of the visit that will help us as a team get the most from the experience and help those we are working with the most. Jodie is as our cultural and political guide; Vera our expert on zoology, ecology and science; Amy is leading on entrepreneurship and social enterprise; and Ryan will be our biographer and photographer.”
“As this is the first such trip we have run at PACA the team are very much pioneers and hoping to set the pattern for further trips in future which are already in the early planning stage.”
Fundraising is continuing right up until the team leaves on the 29th June to try to raise as much as possible to be able to donate to the Day Care Centre too. Keepmoat, who are currently working on a £12.7m refurbishment to the Academy’s Chalky Road campus, generously agreed to donate a cheque for £1,400, which was presented to Academy Principal James Fox and the students at the Sixth form exhibition of Art and Photography. Keepmoat are also donating team hoodies for the students and t-shirts for the Day Care Centre.
Amy Chapman said: “We are really grateful to Keepmoat and everyone else who has supported us so far. This will be a fabulous experience working with two really deserving projects and we want to raise as much as we possibly can.”
James Fox said: “The team have put a fantastic amount of work into preparing for this trip, and I know the experience will be an incredible one for them. At PACA we are forging links in the fast developing economies of South America, India and China, whose influence over our own jobs market and future opportunities is growing and growing. That made Costa Rica a great choice for this pioneering visit.”
The PACA pioneers will be blogging about the project on the Academy’s website and would love to hear from members of the community and local companies who would like to contribute to their fundraising. They will be keeping a video dairy of their experiences in Costa Rica which will also be on www.paca.uk.com .
Iain Logue, New Build Director (South) at Keepmoat, said: “Since we began working at the Academy last year we have built up a great relationship with the staff, students and governors and are only too pleased to be able to support this fantastic trip and the work the students will be carrying out with the charities in Costa Rica.”
“Our work at Keepmoat is very much based around transforming areas and providing strong foundations for future communities and it gives us great pleasure to support a project which has the same ambition of transforming people’s lives. We look forward to hearing all about the trip when the students return and will be sure to keep track of their progress through their blog.”