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Field Trip and French Fry Fun!

What do school children all over the world love more than recess, weekends, and school holidays combined? Field trips, of course!

So when the 2nd grade students of Mesa Verde Elementary School in Farmington, New Mexico were looking for a service learning project they could really relate to, they chose to raise funds for a field trip for the students of the Believe in Me School at the orphanage in Huainan.

After the 2nd graders spent time learning about Chinese culture, they planned a Chinese New Year Family Night for their school, which was held on January 27th. Students and their families participated in dragon dances, and Chinese arts, crafts, and games. Everyone had a great time, and the 2nd graders were very surprised to learn they had surpassed their fundraising goal for the Believe in Me students’ field trip.

The teachers in Huainan chose a trip to a local park which had a petting zoo and a beach, followed by lunch at McDonald’s. The students enjoyed a hike through a bamboo forest, playing in the sand, looking at horses, and their first taste of French fries! Their excitement and enjoyment was evident in the big smiles on everyone’s faces, from the moment they boarded the bus, to the time the final French fry was consumed.

When photos from the Believe in Me students’ field trip arrived in New Mexico at the end of the school year, the entire school pored over them, looking for similarities between the park visited by the children from the orphanage and their own local parks, and especially between the McDonalds restaurant in China, and the ones in the Farmington. As one second grader put it, “It was fun to help kids who are just like us – hungry for Happy Meals!”

Wendy Thacker is the Believe in Me Huainan Assistant Coordinator, lives in Bloomfield, NM. She is an elementary school teacher and mom to two daughters from China: Maya, age 7, from Huainan, and Quinn, age 4, from Yangdong, Guangdong Province.

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