Camden students travel to Ghana

CAMDEN, N.J. (WPVI) -- The shuttle was loaded and the students were off, headed from Mastery High School of Camden to Ghana for nearly two weeks.

Tenth grade Yasmeen Banks explains she can't wait to learn new things. "Traveling helps broaden your knowledge of different cultures, different religions."

Four 9th and 10th graders from the school are merging with students from schools in Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio, through non-profit Pan African Connections.

The program is designed to take students around the country from low-income urban areas to African countries.

The school's principal, Dr. William Hayes, is traveling too and has seen the educational value of these trips. Hayes says, "In more affluent communities travel is normalized. Its part of we go on vacations, we travel abroad, and kids get those experiences. And those are intangible opportunities that kids take with them for the rest of their lives."

Students will make a number of stops including the University of Ghana and the Slave Castles and will meet with the nation's former minister of education.

Banks is looking forward to immersing herself in the culture explaining, "I feel like I want to be in more touch with my, and this is going to sound corny - my inner Africana, embracing my heritage."

The trip costs about $3,000 a student. Fundraising efforts, the school, and personal contributions help pay for it.

Tenth grader Keith Hurst went last year and can't wait to eat the food. Banks wants to see everything.

"I feel like the knowledge someone has doesn't need to be limited to where you grew up. Your own hometown, Camden New Jersey. There's other places out there, explore those," he said.
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