Kimberlaine Ritz has the opportunity of a lifetime approaching next summer. The Durant High School sophomore has been chosen to study in the British Isles.
But she will need the full support of this community to make it happen. She will need to raise around $7,300 for travel expenses, and her family has limited resources to make the dream come true.
Several fund-raising events are planned between now and next spring when the money must be turned in. The first of many was held Friday at Blockbuster.
Kimberlaine and family will be outside of the Umbrella at 310 W. Main this Tuesday selling hot chocolate and baked goods.
Her mom, Kimberly Ritz, and grandparents William and Teresa Nickels decided to ask the Durant Daily Democrat to introduce Kimberlaine to the community.
It’s a fitting introduction: Kimberlaine also writes for the “Lions Roar” student newspaper at Durant High, which is printed in this very newspaper.
“Kimberlaine is invited to travel and study in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the summer of 2014,” said People to People Program Admissions Advisor Judy Hassack in an invitation letter. “Kimberlaine will stretch beyond the ordinary travel experience through unique access to people and places available only to student ambassadors.”
In true journalist style, Kimberlaine wrote in her own words why she is seeking this experience. Here’s her story:
On school: “My favorite school subjects are English and math. English is important to me because I plan to be a writer.
“I am in girls choir and journalism. I enjoy girls choir because it gives me a chance to express myself through song and make lifelong friendships with other girls. For two years I have gone a trip with my choir. Last year we went to San Antonio. We sang at different venues and got to meet amazing people.
“I enjoy journalism because it pushes me out of my comfort zone and allows me to get out and meet fantastic people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
On volunteering: “I’ve done volunteer work for my town at the local Main Street office. I helped prepare for Colten’s Run, which is a charity run, and I helped prepare for the rodeo.”
On People to People: “The People to People Ambassador program is important to me because I genuinely care about what’s going on in the world around me. To go experience a whole new culture, and to share my culture with others, and help people around the world would mean everything to me.”
First Texoma National Bank has an account set up for Kimberlaine’s travel fund for tax-deductible donations. For information, call Shari Hart at (580) 924-4242.