Spanish immersion schools in Anchorage raise money to help Puerto Rico

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - In Mrs. Anaely Hernandez's second period class at Romig Middle school, hands shot up in the air almost before the teacher finished talking.

"Deberíamos tener una cabina de fotos," Andres Hernandez said.

The debate then focused on how much should the students charge for a turn in the photo booth.

This Friday will be the second fundraiser at Romig Middle school for the people in Puerto Rico, who lost almost everything because of Hurricane Maria. Romig is one of the immersion schools in Anchorage that focuses on Spanish language. And for the past 10 years, these Spanish language students have gone to Puerto Rico for a class trip. They spend two days at a K-12 school called Colegio Sanrafael, which is about two hours away from San Juan. Already Romig Middle school and West High school have raised about $8,000 for the small school in Puerto Rico.

"It's really devastating, just awful and sad," said Eliot Pearce about the damage in Puerto Rico. "It's awful. They're such little towns, and it's amazing how much everyone has contributed, because there's so little and everyone has contributed everything they could."

Hernandez said she doesn't think the students will be able to take the annual trip to Puerto Rico this year, which is why they wanted to help raise money to help Puerto Rico rebuild. The connection between Romig and Colegio Sanrafael is so close that students say they still stay in touch with friends from the sister school.

Lupe-Lani Vaaia, an eighth grader, said she just got a text from a friend at the school, yesterday.

"I almost cried seeing that she was able to get the connection and text," Vaaia said.

Many of the students here also have family who still live in Puerto Rico, and watching the news these past few weeks has been stressful.

"My mom, one night, she didn't sleep. She was watching the news all night, because she was worried about her family," said seventh grader Isabella Hernandez. "She hadn't heard form them, and the next day we finally heard from them, and my mom literally was talking to them for five hours. I'm not kidding, they're crying. We were so happy to hear from them, but it's like a horror scene. That's how they explained it. That's how it looks in Puerto Rico."

The fundraiser is at Romig Middle school on Friday, Oct. 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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