GOODING, Idaho (KLIX) – Students at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind are planning their senior class trip for the end of March. But in order to make the trip happen, they need a little help.

The trip to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where some of the Idaho students have applied, costs nearly $15,000, but having raised about $6,000 they’re still $9,000 behind their goal.

One teacher at the school says the trip, scheduled for March 30 to April 5, would be beneficial for students for several reasons, including allowing them to experience what is beyond their home front of Idaho.

Seniors at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind in Gooding are seeking to raise money for their class trip to Washington, D.C. But they could use some help, since they are about $9,000 behind the needed funds. (Photo courtesy of Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind)

“These trips are an important activity for the students where they learn to explore the outside world beyond the campus,” Aditya Sharma, a math and drivers ed teacher at the school, who is deaf, explained in an email to News Radio 1310.

For their senior trips the school's students generally visit cities “where they learn social skills outside the school setting,” Sharma said, “way of life and culture, transportation, facilities available in cities, college campus visits and recreational activities, to name a few. This is not just a trip [only] to Gallaudet University but a trip to Washington, D.C.”

Gallaudet University was chosen because it’s a premier school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Some seniors at ISDB have applied for undergraduate admission at the university. Sharma said “it is our hope that more will feel motivated to go to college after seeing opportunities available for deaf individuals.”

The class of 2017 is composed of 20 students, but each student must meet certain academic and behavioral requirements and raise a portion of the cost to make the trip. Currently, 16 students are meeting the requirements to attend.

These trips are an important activity for the students," says teacher Aditya Sharma, because "they learn to explore the outside world beyond the campus.

The students found out about the trip last year and have been working to save money on their own, but it’s difficult for some students to do that, said teacher’s aide Candice Larsen, because some of the students come from economically challenged families.

Cookie sales, raffles, silent auctions and other fundraising activities are planned over the next several weeks. Among items they hope to sell are Disneyland tickets and ski passes for Sun Valley. Larsen, who will help chaperon students on their trip, said donations from area businesses and anyone else would be extremely helpful in reaching the students’ goal.

Students at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind pose for a photo at the school. (Photo courtesy of Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind)

If they don’t reach their goal the alternative plan is to visit Utah State University, which has a reputable deaf and hard-of-hearing program, she said, and whatever money not used will put into a fund for next year’s senior class trip. But Gallaudet is their first choice.

Four students were able to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Donald Trump on Jan. 20. They came back excited to have visited the nation’s capital.

“We’d like our other seniors to be able to experience that,” Larsen said.

She said this year’s ISDB graduating class has the highest percentage of students in recent memory who plan to attend college. If they attend a local college or university, they’ll have to use an interpreter. But at Gallaudet they’ll be more independent because the school is designed for them. That independence is a good thing for the students, she said.

“There are quite a few of our students considering attending Gallaudet,” she said. “It’d be a life-changing opportunity for them. It’d get them involved in that culture and see all of the educational and job opportunities they have.”

If you'd like to help the students achieve their goal, or to learn more about their efforts, contact Candice Larsen at candice.larsen@iesdb.com or 208-350-3717.