The Ride and the Scholarship
For the past three years, I've had the privilege to teach some of the smartest 5th graders on the planet. We live and learn in Todd County School District on Rosebud Indian Reservation, where less than 10% of adults currently hold a bachelor's degree and fewer than 1 in 3 fifth graders read at grade level. My students are bright, creative, capable and determined. They have been been calling themselves "Class of 2019" and "Class of 2020" based on the year they will graduate high school and enroll in college.
Help realize their vision by contributing to their scholarship fund!
My students believe in themselves. They set ambitious goals for themselves: to grow their reading level by 2 years, to graduate college, to run a personal best for Track Team, etc. And to demonstrate how much I believe in them too--all their potential and dreams to improve their community and the world!--I'm setting a goal and working towards it too: riding the longest unpaved route in North America, the 2,700 mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Canada to Mexico. Along the way, I'll be raising money—a dollar for each mile—to help support my students' college experience.
I've taught 4th/5th grade for the past three years and loved it, but will be moving to teach high school next year, in the same town, across the street. I'll be able to go to their drama productions and basketball games and they'll know where to find me if they need guidance with a school project, but starting next year I won't be their teacher. Starting this fund now is important to me because it is an investment in their long-term future and how much I believe in them!
My students will graduate high school and enroll in college in 2019 and 2020. Everyone knows that college is expensive and beyond the expected costs of tuition, books, room and board, my students may also need funds to travel between university and home and/or participate fully in student life on campus.
When they graduate in 2019 and 2020 from TCSD, the money raised through this bike trip and other campaigns will be divided evenly between the two scholarships. One student from each graduation year will be awarded a scholarship in the form of two checks—one before their first year and one at the end of their successful first year—to be used at the students' discression for tuition, books, personal expenses, etc.
What We Need & What You Get
All the money raised during this bike ride will be put in a savings fund until 2019/2020 when my former students graduate high school and enroll in college. I plan to continue to add to this fund personally and through other campaigns so that in 6/7 years, we have a signifigant scholarship to award two deserving future college graduates!
This is an incredible scholarship fund, but also an incredible adventure for me! Donate to receive cool perks like a post card from the Continental Divide, a thank you card from a future college graduate, or—for big spenders—join the scholarship board to help develop the application and read through applications to award the scholarship each year.
Besides the expected costs of tuition and housing, students will also have to front:
- Activity fees. Many colleges have a $100-200 activity fee that pays for students' gym memberships and college-sponsered speakers and concerts.
- Transportation. Even driving to in-state schools from Mission can take more than $60 in gas money each way when students come home for holidays or for family events. This amount is even higher for students who have to fly in and out of Rapid City or Sioux Falls!
- Technology. Even though most colleges have computer labs, a personal laptop is a now a standard piece of equipment for incoming freshman. A new laptop costs $500-$1500, depending on your major (computer science, engineering and media/communications need computers that can do more than word-processing).
- Books/supplies. The College Board reports that an average cost for books/supplies was $1,200 at public universities and $1,244 at private universities.
- Fun. College is fun. It's a time when you'll meet friends that you'll know for the rest of your life and when you get to study abroad. Students shouldn't miss out on any of this—whether it's studying in China or going to a concert—because they don't have the funds.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you cannot contribute to the fund now, no worries! You can still contribute to the cause:
- Get the word out! Pass this on to your friends/family/coworkers/network!
- Keep in touch! This campaign is raising 2,700 dollars in as many miles, but this fund will keep growing until 2019/2020.
- In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell pointed to research as to what makes students successful in graduating high school and college. A big little thing is the number of successful adults a student has as role models. Be that successful, encouraging adult for a high school or college student that you know!