By Michael Buhler
They won’t leave for Spain for another year, but members of the Clearwater High School Spanish Club already are making preparations for the trip.
The students leave for Spain June 3, 2014, but they have been planning for the trip since December of last year. They held their biggest fundraiser to date on Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1, with a garage sale as part of Clearwater’s city-wide Garage Sale Days.
“All the students are involved and we are taking donations from friends, family and teachers so we should have lots of items,” CHS Spanish teacher Chelsea McNeil said. “We have advertised all around and are hopeful for a good turnout.” McNeil added the sale will have clothing for all ages, toys, furniture, housewares, home decor, and other items.
The trip to Spain is McNeil’s first trip with her students and it is something she has wanted to do since she started teaching six years ago.
“With the support of the Clearwater school board, superintendent and our administrators – as well as the parents of my students – we have been able to make this possible. “We had our first meeting before Christmas break and the students had all signed up by the new year. I wasn’t sure how much fundraising we would need to do, or how much we would be able to raise, so we made sure to start very early.”
McNeil and her students will be traveling with a group from EF Tours with several other students from across the United States. They will spend nine days touring Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Seville and Costa del Sol. While in Spain, they will have the opportunity to see the Prado, Palacio Royal and the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, various cathedrals and synagogues and the Don Quixote Windmills in Toledo and the Alhambra in Granada.
“I would like to continue trips like this every two or three years if possible,” McNeil said. “I think we will be able to sign up and start fundraising a bit closer to our travel date.”
In addition to the garage sale, McNeil’s students have worked several concession stands at school events, plus they have sold Spirit products (cups, travel mugs, and popcorn tubs from BRAX fundraising) and cookie dough tubs, the latter of which they will have for sale Saturday.
McNeil and her students also will be fundraising through Pizza Hut the first Wednesdays in June, July and August. Patrons will be able to donate 20 percent of their purchases on those days to fund the trip to Spain. McNeil also said that she and her students plan to continue working the concession stands next school year, plus they are eyeing the possibility of having a booth at the Clearwater Fall Festival and an enchilada dinner with an auction.