There are 13 graduates this year from Isleboro Central, a small high school on an island near the U.S. state of Maine. Most of them live on Isleboro, which has a year-round population of about 700.
The school’s graduating class usually takes a trip to a far away country to celebrate. The 2021 class was considering a visit to Greece or South Korea. The students did jobs around the small island to raise money for their travel costs. They earned about $8,000 from their work.
But, when it looked like international travel would be difficult because of COVID-19, they considered a trip within the U.S.
In the end, they went nowhere.
Instead the students decided to donate their money to help their neighbors on Isleboro. They gave $5,000 to the Island Community Fund, an aid group on Isleboro.
The students said they had seen many people on the island dealing with job losses and financial problems after the coronavirus health crisis struck.
It would have seemed, in student Liefe Temple’s words, “weird and definitely wrong” for them to take the traditional trip when people were suffering.
The money helped islanders feed their families and meet other needs.
“It felt really good to do that with our money, to give it back to the people who gave it to us,” Temple said.
It was a good feeling for the Island Community Fund, as well. Fred Thomas is the president.
”Their decision demonstrated an awareness of the hardship in their community and a willingness to do something about it,” he said of the young people.
The students also gave some money to help pay unexpected costs for the island’s vaccination operations. The students got a kick out of giving money so their teachers could get the jab.
The students still have some money left. They are thinking about what to do with it.
Olivia Britton is one of the students. She said it seemed “obvious” to give the money back to the people living on the island. Britton’s mother, Megan, is a doctor. She said people sometimes criticize young people. But, “this really flies in the face of that.”
I’m Dan Friedell.
David Sharp wrote this story for the Associated Press. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
What do you think about how the students spent their money? Tell us in the Comments Section and visit 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
graduate - n. a person who has earned a degree or diploma from a school, college, or university
weird – adj. unusual or strange
awareness – n. knowledge of a situation
hardship – n. pain and suffering
obvious – adj. easy for the mind to understand or recognize
fly in the face – idiom to oppose or contradict a popular thought or idea
jab – n. an injection of medicine into your body with a needle