Liberty students to spend spring break building school in Nepal

October 20, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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NEW — 6:34 p.m. Oct. 20, 2015

Liberty High School freshmen Quinlan Gray and David Morris already have their spring break plans squared away, months before the weeklong respite from school.

No, they’re not going to some exotic locale to sit by a pool and soak in the rays. In fact, they won’t be doing much relaxing at all the week of April 11-15.

By Julie Dunnwald Liberty High School freshmen (from left) Cassidy Hay, David Morris, Ty Aramaki, Brian Fitzgerald, Melody Behan, Quinlan Gray, Ryan Kirschner, Toshin Rao and Ian Kirksey dress up to create a video encouraging people to help them raise money to build a school in Nepal.

By Julie Dunnwald
Liberty High School freshmen (from left) Cassidy Hay, David Morris, Ty Aramaki, Brian Fitzgerald, Melody Behan, Quinlan Gray, Ryan Kirschner, Toshin Rao and Ian Kirksey dress up to create a video encouraging people to help them raise money to build a school in Nepal.

Gray, Morris and seven of their classmates will break a sweat during their spring break as they help build a school in Nepal.

“It’s important to give back,” Gray said.

The trip is arranged through the nonprofit buildOn, a group that works in some of the economically poorest countries on the planet to build schools in villages that have historically had no adequate school structure.

Each village provides the land, local materials such as sand and the unskilled labor to build the school, according to the nonprofit’s website. Additionally, every village promises to send girls and boys to school in equal numbers.

While there, the Liberty ninth-graders will live with local families. They will immerse themselves in the culture and learn what it’s like to live without modern technology, such as computers and phones, said Julie Dunnwald, Gray’s mother.

“They’ll be in a village with dirt floors, without running water. It’ll be an amazing experience for these kids,” she said.

Each traveler is responsible for his or her own travel expenses, but as a group, the students will need to raise $30,000 to fund the school. All of the $30,000 raised goes directly into the Nepal school’s construction.

The Liberty freshmen are raising the money in a variety of ways, including partnering with local businesses and selling Brown Bear car wash tickets. In an effort to get a little creative, though, the nine classmates made a “hype” video of sorts to share and encourage people to donate.

Get involved

Help a group of Liberty students build a school in Nepal.

Donate to assist in their $30,000 goal at http://bit.ly/1Lpwmt7 or mail donations to:

buildOn for Liberty High School
14250 S.E. 83rd St.
Newcastle, WA 98059.

Armed with the proper construction tools, Cassidy Hay, Ty Aramaki, Brian Fitzgerald, Melody Behan, Ryan Kirschner, Toshin Rao, Ian Kirksey, Morris and Gray dance and envision themselves as action heroes in the playful three-minute video.

“We made it funnier, added our own flair, I guess, to make it different than the rest,” Morris said.

The video, shot mostly at Newcastle’s Lake Boren Park, asks the public to aid the students’ mission with a tax-deductible donation. As of press time, the group had raised more than $4,500, according to its buildOn fundraiser website. The goal is to get the bulk of that money collected by Dec. 1, Dunnwald said.

Additionally, the group will receive a portion of proceeds collected from Tapatio Mexican Grill and Zoëyogurt on Nov. 4. Anyone who eats at those Newcastle establishments that evening will help the students’ cause. The businesses are located in the Coal Creek Marketplace on Coal Creek Parkway in the heart of Newcastle.

While the Liberty ninth-graders’ parents are heavily involved in helping the students reach their fundraising goal, the hope is that in the future, the students can take a greater ownership over the project and make this an annual tradition, Dunnwald said.

“Our goal is to open our children’s eyes to how most of the world lives and to instill in them a sense of responsibility to give back,” she said.

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