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Teacher, students to head to Africa to build schools

By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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Three Whitney High School representatives have a once in a lifetime opportunity to help students in Northern Uganda, Africa. Two students and one teacher will be traveling to Northern Uganda over the summer to help rebuild and work in African schools. As part of Whitney’s Invisible Children’s club, students raised approximately $12,000 with the community’s help, which goes toward the war-affected country of Northern Uganda. And recently Jon Bryant, the school’s club advisor, was asked to join students Bryn Hobson and Elena Frink for the 24-hour airplane ride through the Invisible Children’s Teacher Exchange program. The students’ trip will be paid for by the organization and Bryant’s is half funded. The Invisible Children’s organization covers the program fees, which amounts to $2,000 – about half of the total costs, Bryant said. But the school, club and students are no strangers to raising funds for a good cause. They’re holding an event of March 5 with a bake sale, items up for raffle like a donated iPod and a viewing of the Invisible Children’s “Go” documentary film. The event takes place 3-5 p.m. in the Whitney High School cafeteria and will also celebrate the club’s work done throughout the past months. Bryant will depart on June 13 and return home on July 28. Throughout his six-week trip, he will help teach geography to Ugandan schoolchildren. “The more I looked into it, the more I see it’s a great opportunity to give back,” Bryant said. To better understand what his experience would be like, Bryant was able to talk with another teacher who was chosen to go to Northern Uganda, a previous year. The teacher’s advice stuck out to him. “You can teach about Africa from the states, but you don’t know Africa until you’ve been there,” the teacher told Bryant. Bryant said part of what has made this experience already worthwhile, has been seeing his students invest time and showing commitment to the cause. “It’s really my students that really motivate me,” Bryant said. To donate money toward Bryant’s trip, send checks to Invisible Children, Inc., Mission: Teacher Exchange, 1620 5th Ave. Ste. 400, San Diego, CA 92101; pay to the order of Invisible Children and write T/X – Jon Bryant in the memo line. Byant is keeping a blog of his journey to Uganda. To follow Bryant’s blog, go to http://2009teacher-exchangetriptouganda.blogspot.com. Contact Lauren Weber at laurenw@goldcountrymedia.com.