GF students set fundraising goal for Disney’s Youth Education Series

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Green Forest High School gifted and talented (GT) students are planning to fund their own trip to the Youth Education Series (YES) at Disney World in Orlando next June.

Program sponsor Laine Smith said the fundraising goal is $23,000 for 21 students to attend the trip. She said Disney’s YES program takes educational concepts and applies them in the park.

“There’s one for physics,” she said, “where the students have special physics meters, and they take them on a roller coaster. As you ride it, the meter reads the physics. Then you go back and do the math.”

Smith said the students will use their measurements to determine the velocity of different roller coasters and which is the fastest or slowest.

Senior Kassidy Bell said the students have several fundraisers planned for each month.

“One of the biggest ones we’ve been focusing on is a chili cook-off,” she said. “Our sponsor came up with an escape room idea that we’re going to set up within the school. We’re also going to set up donkey basketball.”

Junior Henry Holtkamp said other planned fundraisers include “Babysitting Saturdays,” crowdfunding, setting up a GoFundMe page and doing “Split the Pot” events for Green Forest basketball games.

“You go around selling tickets to people for ‘Split the Pot,’ ” he said, “and however much money you end up with… you raffle it off to one person. They get half the money, and we get half the money.”

Bell said she has also suggested doing a “Christmas House” event this December.

“I want to do a Christmas House instead of a haunted house,” she said. “We would do different Christmas movies in each classroom, and people can pay so much money to come in, see them and have hot chocolate and stuff.”

The GT students said they are hoping to reach their fundraising goal because most of them have never been to Disney World or flown on a plane before.

“I’ve never been to Disney World, and I’m a big Disney fan,” Bell said. “I’m still a little girl at heart, so I’m excited for the whole thing.”

“I’ve never been to Disney either,” said junior Kendall DeMeyer, “so I’m excited for that as well.”

Holtkamp said it was important for the GT students to raise the money themselves because that is the only way some of them can afford to go on the trip.

“We have a lot of folks who have to get the money this way,” he said. “They don’t have any other resources to get it.”

Smith said the GT students have been asking to take a trip for a while.

“A lot of our kids haven’t been able to leave our regional area. Tulsa or Dallas is the farthest they’ve ever been,” she said. “Part of our GT framework is globalization, so we’re trying to touch on that through Disney World. It has so many different countries represented there, especially in places like Epcot.”

Surprisingly, Smith said, Disney’s YES program was the cheapest option when they started looking into trips because the price includes food, rooms and tickets to the theme parks.

“We do have a lot of kids whose families have no way to pay for it if we don’t reach the fundraising goal,” she said. “That’s why we thought we’d work really hard and see what we can do fundraising-wise.”

She said the GT students will publicize the various fundraisers throughout the school year.

“Any donations would be appreciated,” Bell said.

Smith said anyone interested in donating can email her at

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