Two junior high students embark on new experiences this summer
Denise Avalos will be trekking through Washington, D.C., this summer, visiting the monuments she has seen only in photographs.
Meanwhile, her classmate, Isaias Favela, will be testing his capabilities in a gravity-free environment at Space Camp in Alabama.
The Gila Vista Junior High students entered an essay competition for migrant students throughout the state. Only a handful of students were selected for the summer trips.
"They wrote an autobiography and also had to send letters of recommendations from teachers, plus they had to have a high grade-point average and participate in extracurricular activities," said Irene Montoya, the Yuma School District 1 migrant coordinator.
"Isaias is one of three students in the state to attend Space Camp and Denise is one of 10 to take part in the Close Up program. It's called Close Up because they are getting an up-close look at government."
Isaias said he was interested in attending the Space Camp, held June 8-16 in Huntsville, Ala., for the experience alone.
"I just wanted to try something different, something new," the eighth-grader said. "I think it's going to be cool, I am going to go through the training that the astronauts do. I will get to experience the gravity room and I am going to be exposed to three G's.
"I am most looking forward to the gravity room, that would be fun, and I just want to learn something," Isaias said. "I am excited because this is somewhere I have never been before."
Isaias said he less interested in becoming an astronaut than being an industrial designer, a job in which he could create unusual cars or homes. Still, he says he wants to experience the camp anyway.
Denise, on the other hand, is interested in a career in government. She said she would like to be a U.S. senator from Arizona. The seventh-grader will be traveling to Washington, D.C., June 9-12, where she and a group of students from across the country will see the sights and take workshops on how the government operates.
"We are going to get to see the White House and other monuments," she said. "I really want to see the Lincoln Memorial. I have always been really interested in Lincoln. They also said we might even get to meet some senators. I want to be able to see everything I can and learn more about government."
Montoya said the trips are sponsored by the state migrant department, which pays for the students' transportation, food and registration. Montoya said she would still like to see the students have some spending money and since their families can't afford much towards travel expenses, she is seeking donations from the public. Anyone interested in helping can contact Montoya at 343-0800, Ext. 319.
Both Denise and Isaias say they are more excited about their trips. Denise said the farthest she has been from Yuma is to California, while Isaias has been as far as Texas.
"My parents are nervous for me to go by myself, they are very protective," Isaias said. "But they also said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that usually doesn't happen to a lot of people."