Red Deer Public School District

Alternative School Centre….We’re going to Disneyland!

Disneyland - it’s a place every child dreams of going to, but for some it will never happen.

Imagine being in high school and that opportunity comes along. That opportunity has come to students at the Alternative School Centre as they are set to travel to Los Angeles later this year to take part in the Disney Youth Education Series.

This is truly a trip of a lifetime for these students as they normally would not get this kind of opportunity. Many of these students have faced challenges throughout their school career and this educational trip will bring them hope, encouragement and help to open their eyes to a bigger world of possibilities.

During the trip, the students will earn high school credits which will ultimately help them graduate.

“The biggest thing is we are helping kids get high school credits and having them go on a life experience trip. A lot of our students are not able to do this as a family, so if the family can help and support one member going, that is ideal,” said Tammy Keeping, Instructional Assistant at the Alternative School Programs. “We have found up to 16 credits that kids can earn specifically towards this trip. Some of those credits are within leadership, tourism, photography, finance, and more.

“I think it’s giving them an extra push. We have limited options at ASC.  Foods is offered every semester and photography is offered twice a year. This is giving them real world application for photography - how better to get a blurred shot than on a ride? They can build their photography portfolio on site.”

According to the Disney website, during the Creating a Leadership Legacy program, “Students learn how to develop their own leadership legacy to become confident in their ability to accomplish goals and be motivated to achieve the impossible.”

The Energy and Waves Physics Lab will have students, “Embark on an interactive adventure where you'll explore the physics of light and sound through select attractions at Magic Kingdom park and examine the wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum.”

In addition to Disney, students will also experience Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For many of them, this is an experience they otherwise may never have gotten.

Upwards of 20 students in Grades 10-12 at the Alternative School Programs will be attending the trip in November and fundraising efforts are in full swing. The goal is to raise $15,000 to help cover some of the cost for the students.

ASC is hoping to garner community support because for most of these students, it will be a challenge to raise enough money.

“Some of them have mentioned this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, that they were never going to get there if the school hadn’t brought this up as an option,” said Keeping. “I think the trip is going to build, for them, the possibility of a bucket list. I also want to show the kids that there are more jobs in the world than doctors, lawyers, police officers - there are jobs in the entertainment industry and you can apply to a job in another country.”

She added planning the trip has already turned into a learning experience.

“The kids are asking really good questions about what it means to travel internationally, how do you get a passport? How do you fill it out? What does a guarantor mean? We are building these life affirming skills that they need to know,” said Keeping.

Meanwhile, donations of any denomination for the cause are accepted with tax receipts available for donations of $20 or more. Any company who is interested in donating $250 or more can also have their name put on the back of the t-shirts the kids will wear.

“These donations will be helping provide international travel to students who normally would not get that chance. You’re providing an opportunity for a student to experience education they cannot get within the classroom walls,” said Keeping. “You’re helping them to see the world outside the box.”