“We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” 11-year-old Jared Weis yelled out as he got down on his knees in worshiping fashion.
This was the scene all day Saturday as the three sixth-grade classes at Lena Juniper Elementary School held their second annual yard sale. All proceeds are going toward the school’s annual field trip to Point Bonita, just outside of San Francisco.
The students will spend three days and two nights at the YMCA Outdoor and Conference Center at Point Bonita, where they will spend their days with naturalists and focus on marine ecology.
“We go mainly for the marine biology aspect,” sixth-grade teacher Eric Sanderson said. “And we go for the geology – the earthquakes, the tectonic plates. There’s great examples in the Bay area that we can’t see here.”
Teaching assistant Trina Garcia added that the students will learn valuable nature skills along with how to protect the environment, “all in terms that a sixth-grader can relate to.”
Lectures are one teaching mechanism not on tap for the Point Bonita trip. Instead, students will be outdoors getting as much hands-on experience as they can handle.
But it will cost a pretty penny. All those participating in the field trip pay a YMCA facility fee of $190. Students had to come up with that money on their own but the estimated $2,160 raised at Saturday’s yard sale will assist with the cost of transportation. Sanderson said the the school has to rent two buses with a $6,500 price tag. But thanks to the Juniper community, the yard sale had numerous items to offer. From TVs and furniture to clothes, games and all sorts of appliances, hundreds of items piled up on the Juniper blacktop waiting for new owners to claim them.
And upon leaving, the send-off patrons received was just as jubilant as the welcome. The Juniper sixth-graders treated every car with a wave of the hand and shouts of “Thank you!” Some of the students had been at Juniper since the early morning to help set up the yard sale. But they didn’t seem to mind spending their day at school on a weekend. The eagerness they had for their upcoming trip was easy to see.
Sahara Guillen, 11, said she was excited about seeing the ocean and learning more about oceanography.
“And I like to be surrounded by nature,” she said.
Sanderson said that a lot of the students haven’t even been out of the Sparks-Reno area, let alone seen the ocean, so they are especially excited for the trip.
“And oceans were a big part of our curriculum,” Sanderson said. “This trip gives them a chance to experience it for themselves. They’re not just getting it out of books.”
While the trip may be for the students, Garcia and Sanderson may be just as excited to go as their students.
“I learn so much every time I go,” Garcia said.
As a teacher, Sanderson added that he enjoys spending time with his students outside of the classroom environment so he can see more than one side of them. But more importantly, he said he enjoys seeing students who don’t succeed in a normal classroom do so in a hands-on learning environment.
“Some students are more successful when they can touch stuff and talk about it,” Sanderson said.
And soon the students will be touching all the flora and fauna that their little hearts desire.