SIKESTON - A group of Sikeston High School seniors will celebrate their graduation at one of the most popular graduation trip destinations: Cancun, Mexico.
"I have seen pictures of Cancun and it is really pretty," senior Amber Coffey said. She has also heard from friends that Cancun is a fun place to go, with various things to do.
For several students, the senior trip is important because it gives the classmates one last time to be together, according to Coffey. "I figure this is going to be the last time that all of my friends will get to do something together before everyone goes to college," she said.
But the Cancun-bound seniors aren't just a big clique. "There is a variety of people going," Coffey commented. "A lot of them aren't my close friends, but I am looking forward to spending time with them."
Not only is Coffey anticipating a good time with her friends, she also plans on learning a bit. "I'm looking forward to seeing how Mexican culture is," she said. "I want to see firsthand how people live down there and how their government is different."
Despite the legal drinking age of 18 in Cancun, Coffey insisted it is not the reason for their destination choice. "We want to have fun with our friends, but you don't have to drink to do that," she said.
In addition to the 45 seniors signed up to go to Cancun, 10 of their parents have also decided to go on the four day trip. "The 10 chaperones that are going are really involved parents and going in support of that," Rosemary Latham, a parent chaperone and fund raising coordinator commented. "We are just going in case of an emergency."
And the students are glad to have some parents coming along. "I think chaperones are good because even though most of us are 18, it's always better to have adults," Coffey said. People will sometimes argue with kids, but compromise with adults, she reasoned. The senior also anticipates the parents will be available to keep a closer watch on the students when needed.
The group will leave for Cancun on June 13. While in Mexico, they will be staying at the Oasis resort.
The Oasis offers several types of recreation, according to Latham and Coffey. "There are all kinds of activities each night that we can choose from," Coffey said. "The hotel also has it's own private area on the beach.
Latham added that a luau is scheduled, as well as dancing and several types of beach activities.
And the students won't have to shell out any extra cash for these activities, because the trip is all-inclusive. "Food and everything is paid for," Coffey said.
The students are quite happy with the all-inclusive deal. "I don't have to bring too much more money," Coffey said, adding that she would probably just take some money for souvenirs. She hopes to earn the money to pay for the flat rate of the trip, in addition to some spending money through fund-raisers sponsored by the group.
Since August, the Cancun bound students have had several projects to raise money for their trip, including working at the rodeo and selling Little Caesars pizzas and cookie dough.
"Most of the kids are earning their money," commented Latham. She added that if the students work at every fund-raiser, their trip should be paid for.
The group is planning several more opportunities to earn money for their trip as well. "We have fund raisers lined up until the week when we leave," Latham said.
Upcoming fund raisers include bagging groceries at Market Place for donations in January and March, selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts in February and car washes at Homestead Electronics. The students also plan to sponsor a stand at the Springfest where people will be able to hit a car for a dollar.
This group of seniors doesn't just work together to raise money though. They recently participated in a toy drive. Each person going on the trip was invited to donate as many toys as they wanted, which were then donated to the Mission Missouri Angel Tree in memory of Courtney Sorrells.
"We wanted to give back to the community for what they are doing to help us go on our trip," Coffey said. "We want to show them that it's not just fun and we do work."