Two young students from Princess Alexandra School have been surprised with a trip of a lifetime.
At an assembly on Sept. 13, the students – Suri Nowdlak and Kimberly Martel – were announced as this year’s recipients of a trip to Disneyland in California with a program called Dreams Take Flight.
That is a national initiative created by employees of Air Canada to offer special adventures to children aged nine to 12 years. This is the fifth year it has taken students from Princess Alexandra School on trips to an amusement park in California.
Kimberly, an 11-year-old Grade 6 student, said she is looking forward to the trip to Disneyland.
She has never been to the United States before, she noted. “So this is exciting.”
In particular, she is looking forward to the roller-coaster rides.
Kimberly’s mother, Amanda Martel, is also excited.
“I’m just happy for her,” Martel said.
Suri, a 10-year-old Grade 5 student, was surprised to hear her name announced.
“I was really excited and happy,” she said.
For Suri, it will also be her first time outside of Canada, and she expects to have a lot of fun at Disneyland.
“I heard that there’s a lot of roller-coasters there,” she said, adding she is also looking forward to seeing all the Disney characters.
Debra Buggins, Suri’s grandmother, said she is excited for her.
“It’s a trip of a lifetime,” Buggins said.
Suri’s mother, Tanya Nowdlak, expects she will come back to Hay River with lots of stories.
“Her Mom is going to be jealous,” Nowdlak said.
The Dreams Take Flight initiative at Princess Alexandra School has been organized over the five years by teacher Jennifer Tweedie.
“Helpfulness and kindness was kind of the theme this year, and these two girls really come to exemplify that,” Tweedie said of the two students chosen for the trip.
They were to fly out of Hay River on Sept. 17 and will spend all of Sept. 18 at Disneyland before returning home the next day.
With the two young travellers this year, that makes a total of 14 students from Princess Alexandra School who have travelled to either Disneyland or Universal Studios with Dreams Take Flight.
Tweedie hopes that it will continue at the school into the future.
The teacher noted the adventure benefits the students, who return with more self-confidence.
“And they have a pretty special story to tell,” she said. “I think they find strength in that.”
At Disneyland, the youngsters from Dreams Take Flight get first-in-line tickets.
Students are chosen for the trips for a number of reasons, including the fact they would not normally go on such an adventure.
Buffalo Airways flies the students to Yellowknife where they connect with Air Canada. They then fly to Edmonton where they join students from northern Alberta going on the Dreams Take Flight adventure.