NOLA Rollers are back on the bus in 2015

NOLA Rollers are back on the bus in 2015

Students may have seen the flyers around school or heard the announcements over the loud speakers, and yes, it’s true, the NOLA Rollers New Orleans trip is back. The trip is scheduled for April vacation 2015. English teacher Meg Rogers is leading the trip.

NOLA Rollers previously ran from 2008-2011 and is a community service-based trip done through Habitat for Humanity. Students travel to New Orleans by bus, help rebuild homes and buildings, and volunteer at nearby animal shelters.

Former DHS Librarian Laurie Dias-Mitchell and former Fashion/Unified Arts Teacher Jacqueline Francisco started the NOLA trip because students expressed interest in doing more, community service wise.

Ms. Dias-Mitchell was the adviser for the Think Community, Act Now volunteer group. Ms. Rogers was in charge with Ms. Francisco for the past two trips.

NOLA Roller trips take lots of planning, money, participation, and dedication from students to organize. There are three large fundraisers already in the works.

The first is the Go Big Green 5K on Sunday, September 28, the Knotts Berry Farm wine tasting on Saturday, October 25, and the Bowlathon on Sunday, January 18. The Go Big Green 5K will be available for students to lend their time and receive volunteering hours as 40 hours of community service are required to attend the trip.

These trips are great for community service hours, bonding with classmates, gaining new experiences, and seeing what is going on in the world outside of Dartmouth.

When asked her favorite part of these trips, Ms. Rogers said, “It’s kinda silly, but I honestly love watching a random group of kids come together, bond, and do something amazing they’ve never done before. Kids who had never talked before suddenly are lifting up floor joists or holding ladders for each other, developing inside jokes, and quoting movies from the bus ride. Watching the group grow together and help make a community a better place is inspiring.”

The student bonding on the trip seems as if it will mostly be among girls. Using the mailing list for figures, out of the 55 interested students for the trip, only seven are boys.

When asked what she thinks this huge gender ratio is due to, sophomore Rachel Gin said, “I think that most of the guys don’t know about the trip, or girls are more interested in that stuff than guys are.”

To get the other gender’s perspective, prospective male attendee and junior Matt Jones said, “Maybe boys are not very motivated to participate outside of school.”

This really should be a trip to remember with visits to the Louisiana State History Museum, Jackson Park, a ghost tour, and a night of dinner and dancing on a steamboat, all planned out in a rough draft of the itinerary. The bus trip takes about three days round trip from Dartmouth to New Orleans. The bus leaves at 6 a.m. on Friday, April 17 and arrives in New Orleans late on Saturday. Sunday will be the only tourist day and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are work days with fun dinner destinations at night. Students leave New Orleans on Thursday, April 23 at 6 a.m. and arrive back in Dartmouth late on Friday.

Student and prospective NOLA Roller sophomore Melissa Zatir said, “I’m extremely excited for the trip. I’m really looking forward to being able to help repair some of the damage there.”

Student volunteers are able to offer their services at the local animal shelter and at work sites. Only students 18 years or older are able to handle power tools, though.

Volunteers from previous NOLA trips have nothing to say but positive feedback regarding the trip. Past NOLA trip attendee senior Emily Aaron said, “My favorite part of the trip was helping the animals there. I got to walk dogs and help out at the animal shelter. It was a very rewarding experience, and it definitely sparked my interest in traveling.”

If you need any more convincing to join this trip, Ms. Rogers has a message for the students of DHS. “Not only is New Orleans a super-cool place,” she said, “it is a city that is still struggling to recover. If a student is interested in travel, interested in service, interested in learning new skills and meeting new people, this is a trip they should consider.”

If interested in more details regarding the trip, visit Ms. Rogers in room C28. Interested students are encouraged to attend meetings.