Ludowici Students on Science Trip to Belize

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It was a trip some high school students from Long County were determined to take, in the name of science. But it was way too expensive. So students held several fundraisers, collecting about $20,000. They're leaving their small town of Ludowici and heading straight into the rain forests of South America.

Today, they packed their bags, getting ready for the trip of their young lives.

"Eventually they're going to be out in the world," said parent Mary Green. "It gives them their first time away from home, along with learning something."

They're going a science camp in Belize. For many of them, this trip will be their first out of Georgia. "I'm going to miss home a lot," said Kylie Gaitten, a junior at Long County High School. "By the time it's over with, I'll be ready to get home. I'll be homesick."

Although some are a little scared about leaving home, most know this is their one chance to take the trip of a lifetime.

One of the science teachers received a letter in her mailbox, talking about a trip for students to take to South America. Keep in mind, these are students from a small school and a third of them have never even flown before.

"And I thought, 'Wouldn't this be cool?' and I ran it by our school board who said, 'Sure, let's give it a try,'" said teacher Melinda Chancey.

But before students could board the bus, they had to raise a lot of money. They ended up raising every penny they needed. Some even raised the money for other students who needed additional clothing for the trip.

"We've been doing fundraisers all year," said Kylie. "We've been doing candy fundraisers and just selling doughnuts and anything we possibly could. It was a lot of hard work."

"We're going to be bringing back 14 students who've just had a major life-changing experience outside of southeast Georgia, outside of Walt Disney World," said Chancey.

And they'll bring them back into a school system where people will be waiting to hear what life is like in a world outside the only one many of them have ever known.

The students are scheduled to be back in town on the July 19.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen,