Brandywine international economics class planning third trip to Haiti

Published 11:55 am Wednesday, April 21, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- With a class trip to Haiti planned for next school year, a group of Brandywine High School students will get a rare opportunity to experience a vastly different culture, up close and personal.
Brandywine High School teacher Ron Bishop and his wife Ginny, a regular substitute teacher at the school, will be taking a group of 19 juniors and seniors to the third world country this November.
This year's trip will mark the third trip to Haiti by Bishop and his international economics class. He schedules the trips every other year.
The Bishops chose Haiti as a trip destination because of their experiences in the country as a missionaries from 1993 to 1995.
He thinks the particular location of the field trip makes Brandywine's offering, a very unique opportunity not found in any other school districts.
Bishop said seeing this new culture and way of life can have a tremendous impact on the high school students and how they perceive the rest of the world.
Taking nearly 20 students to Haiti is not a cheap venture. With a price tag of $1,210 per student, the cost of the total trip is more than $25,000.
But, Bishop and his class are working together on a large and creative fundraising effort to make sure that the field trip will not cost the students a thing.
One of those creative fundraising ideas is a formal evening of fine dining and dancing at the Riverfront Cafe on May 14 being called "A Tropical Night to Remember …"
The event will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. and will feature a dinner of prime rib, chicken marsala or a vegetarian entree with dinner music from a live ensemble. The after-dinner dancing music will be provided by a DJ service called Pure Energy. Tickets are $75 per couple and because the evening can only accommodate a maximum of 50 couples, Bishop said it would be a good idea to make reservations soon.
Other fundraising activities include a large yard sale in June, customized coupon books for local businesses, a booth at the Apple Festival and some tentative raffle plans.
Bishop said the fundraisers have paid for the entire trip the last two years and expects another successful campaign this year.
The aim of the field trip is to take a close look at a different economic and cultural system than our own. And by visiting the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, students will get to experience two very different extremes.
The field trip will include visiting Haitian businesses and schools, where the students will learn about economic factors such as the importing and exporting of goods, Haitian taxes and the social programs provided by different employers in the country.
The students will also be visiting Grace Children's Hospital, where Bishop is planning a community service project.
All of the participating students will be responsible for keeping a journal to record their observations and thoughts on a daily basis.
Haiti has recently gone through a period of political turmoil and civil unrest, but the Bishops said those problems now appear to be cleared up.
Ginny Bishop said the student's enjoyment of this experience is apparent by the number of previous participants that approach the couple and ask them if they need any chaperones.