They raised $8,000 for a senior trip to remember, but instead the graduating class of Isleboro Central School in Maine won't ever forget the lives they changed by donating that money.
The school is on an island that has 700 year-round residents, making it a tight-knit community. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the 13 members of the Class of 2021 organized festivals, worked concession stands, and held dinners to raise money for their class trip. In previous years, students traveled to Italy, Panama, and Norway, and this class considered going to Greece or South Korea.
The pandemic changed everything, and knowing that international travel was out of the question, the students started discussing going somewhere local. Student Liefe Temple told The Associated Press it would have felt "weird and definitely wrong" to take any sort of trip right now, since they could "really see how the whole world and the island, too, was struggling." So, they decided to donate $5,000 to the Island Community Fund, to help people who were out of work and needed money for food or rent.
"It felt really good to do that with our money, to give it back to the people who gave it to us," Temple said. Isleboro Community Fund President Fred Thomas told AP when the board learned of the students' donation, "there was a strong sense of pride in these students. That's because their decision demonstrated an awareness of the hardship in their community and a willingness to do something about it. They learned that giving is hard, but giving is good." The students still have $3,000 left in their travel fund, and are still deciding where to donate the money.