|By Natasha Clark, Assistant Managing Editor|
SPRINGFIELD The Springfield Expeditionary Learning School is hoping members of the surrounding communities will invest in the personal and academic advancement of ninth graders by participating in a silent auction fund-raiser on June 8.
Monies raised will help approximately 100 students and teachers attend an Outward Bound course, an outdoor program that brings students and staff together through a series of individual and group challenges.
"We are trying to raise between $35, 000 - 40,000 to send ninth grade [students] to a one-week wilderness adventure course," explained principal Dr. Stephen Mahoney. "[We are] one of two schools in the country that Outward Bound is splitting the costs with. Last year we raised the money and part of the money came from the generous support of various local businesses. We also did a silent auction."
Mahoney said sending the students to Outward Bound was a "life-changing experience" for them. He said the challenge exercises gave them a new way to view themselves.
"They talk about it time and time again. 'If i could hike through the White Mountains than I can do this algebra. If I could sail than I could do these academics, and I know that [things] will come out OK,'" Mahoney said. "The point is to take the kids as a class and have them have this common experience that pushes them out of their comfort zone."
The program is designed to inspire students to come back to school and apply their new attitude toward their peers and commitments and transfer them to school work.
Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization with five core programs: Outward Bound Wilderness, Expeditionary Learning Schools Outward Bound, Outward Bound Professional, Outward Bound Urban Centers and Outward Bound Discovery.
According to their Web site, www.outwardbound.org, "they deliver adventure in the wilderness, urban centers, workrooms, and classrooms to help others achieve their possibilities and to inspire them to serve others and the world around them."
The silent auction fund-raiser will take place on June 8, 5:30 - 8 p.m., at the Springfield Expeditionary Learning School. 1170 Carew St.