Us olds are often wringing our hands about the fate of the younger generations. What with their TikToks and their hydro flasks and their Billie Eilish. It’s natural for older generations, especially parents, to worry about today’s youth.
But it turns out the kids are alright. At least the kids at Islesboro Central School in the island town in Maine. The school has a senior tradition of taking a class trip someplace exotic. In the past, seniors at the tiny school (2021’s graduating class has just 13 students) have visited Paris, Venice, Iceland, Norway, and more. This year they were thinking Greece, and with robust fundraising efforts raised some $8000 towards that voyage.
And then they gave it all back to their town.
Like everyone, the tight-knit community of 700 had its struggles over the past year. The small senior class was isolated from each other, with 5 students living off-island on the mainland. They’d been unable to gather for months, but still planning the trip, things just didn’t feel right.
“It felt sort of obvious that it needed to go back to the island community,” said Olivia Britton, 17. Most of the money went towards the Island Community Fund to help those suffering from Covid-19 related issues, such as illness and job loss.
Liefe Temple, 18, said it felt “weird and definitely wrong” to be spending money during the pandemic. “We could really see how the whole world and the island, too, was struggling. So it felt really good to do that with our money, to give it back to the people who gave it to us,” Temple said.
When the students informed the town of their decision, “there were cheers and tears,” said Fred Thomas, president of the Island Community Fund.
“When everything settled down, there was a strong sense of pride in these students. That’s because their decision demonstrated an awareness of the hardship in their community and a willingness to do something about it,” Thomas said. “They learned that giving is hard, but giving is good.”
Somebody should go follow those kids on TikTok.