ACS group departs for Honduras on sister school excursion

A group of eight Alabaster City Schools employees left the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on Jan. 10 to fly to Honduras on a sister school excursion. (Contributed)

A group of eight Alabaster City Schools employees left the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on Jan. 10 to fly to Honduras on a sister school excursion. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – A group of Alabaster City Schools employees had a hard time concealing their excitement on June 9, a matter of hours before they boarded a plane bound for Honduras to take the first step toward creating better lives for some of the country’s residents.

“One thing that’s got me excited is that this is an actionable set of projects. Our kids can be involved in this on an ongoing basis,” said ACS Technology Coordinator Keith Price. “We have been meeting for months preparing for this.”

Price, ACS Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction Cena Davis, Thompson High School engineering teacher Brian Copes, Thompson Middle Assistant Principal Desaree Jackson, Creek View Elementary Assistant Principal Holly Alverson, THS foreign language teacher Elizabeth Sevilla, THS science teacher John Cole and THS medical sciences teacher Dorinda Shaddix departed for Honduras early on June 10.

While there, the eight ACS staff members will meet with municipal and school officials in the city of Jutiapa to assess the area’s needs.

The Alabaster group will study the area’s technology infrastructure, medical offerings, water quality and more while filming their visit to show to local students.

Once the eight ACS employees return on June 15, they will have a better understanding of how Alabaster students can partner with their peers in the Jutiapa School System, Copes said.

Through the sister school program, Alabaster students will Skype with students in Jutiapa over the next year to build a relationship with their Central American peers. Then, in summer 2016, a group of ACS students will travel to Honduras to set up computers, provide training at the city’s medical clinic, teach Hondurans to test their water quality, set up a water purifier and more.

“These kids are about to have a global connection. What can I do to affect change?” Davis said. “I envision this getting big quickly.”

“It’s going to be something that will set the stage for other schools to follow,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers added.

While Alabaster students will work to improve the quality of life in Jutiapa, the local students also will benefit from the project, Price said.

“This is not just our vision,” Price said. “It’s truly a partnership.”