Tax trip up costly for high school stu­dents

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

A trop­i­cal is­land trip is fast be­com­ing a mi­rage for ge­og­ra­phy stu­dents at One Tree Hill Col­lege.

The class of 27 year 13 stu­dents have been fundrais­ing since Novem­ber for the trip and be­lieved they had paid in full, un­til an air­fare mis­quote set them back $130 each.

Stu­dent Chris Earl, 18, says he was “pretty gut­ted” to hear the news, as the class is due to leave on Septem­ber 21.

“Most of the class have part­time jobs and are pay­ing for this off their own backs.”

They have also been hold­ing sausage siz­zles and sell­ing en­ter­tain­ment books to make up the $1600 each orig­i­nally quoted for the trip.

Deputy prin­ci­pal Nick Cough­lan says the trip has run for the past nine years as part of the ge­og­ra­phy pro­gramme’s half year unit on tourism in Fiji.

“The stu­dents have man­aged to fund it ev­ery year.”

He says go­ing on the 12day trip dra­mat­i­cally im­proves marks for the unit and is some­thing stu­dents in the year be­low look for­ward to.

Stu­dents visit ma­jor cen­tres of tourism in Fiji and look at fa­cil­i­ties and trans­port, as well as at­tend­ing lec­tures by those in the in­dus­try.

They also see how large re­sorts op­er­ate and spend time in a small vil­lage, help­ing with com­mu­nity work.

“This year’s trip was all un­der way and do­ing very well un­til the travel agent, who has been do­ing a great job, rang up very apolo­getic to say she had mis­quoted the air­fares and not in­cluded taxes,” says Mr Cough­lan.

The agent has since helped by get­ting War­riors mer­chan­dise to raf­fle and of­fer­ing to help make up the dif­fer­ence with her own money.

“The stu­dents have worked them­selves sense­less with part-time jobs and fundrais­ing. To get this news was quite a blow.”

The school is hop­ing to raise the ex­tra funds through other av­enues rather than ask the stu­dents to come up with it.

“They are aware of the sce­nario. The grand short­fall is about $3600. We’re try­ing not to think about it too much.”

The Mad Butcher Peter Leitch heard about the sit­u­a­tion and has of­fered $260 to­wards it, cov­er­ing the ex­tra funds for two stu­dents.

And he’s chal­leng­ing an­other 25 busi­nesses or in­di­vid­u­als to get on board and pay $130 each.

“Th­ese kids are try­ing to do some­thing for them­selves and it’s through a chain of cir­cum­stances that they ended up with this short­fall,” Mr Leitch says.

“Let’s get in and do some­thing for them.”

Any­one want­ing to do­nate money can con­tact Mr Cough­lan on 579-5049 ext 702.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Help needed: Stu­dents Chris Earl, La Toya Sear­ancke and deputy prin­ci­pal Nick Cough­lan need to raise an­other $3600 for their school trip.

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