By Mark Ambrogi
Noblesville Schools was well represented in a group of 27 from Noblesville First United Methodist Church on a mission trip to Guatemala.
“We had three Noblesville High School students, a Noblesville Schools bus driver, a former Noblesville Schools music teacher and myself,” said Roy Wallace, the Noblesville Schools building and grounds director. “It was ironic we were all taking our time and break from school and going to work on a school.”
The mission trip was held during the first week of Noblesville Schools’ fall break in October.
“The project we were selected to work on was a kitchen for a school,” Wallace said. “I felt it was a great experience, and I enjoyed it. I felt like we really did some good. We definitely made things a little better for them. The students there don’t get lunch so a lot don’t get good meals throughout the day. If they established these kitchens, Mission Guatemala helps with food and trains some of the school’s staff on ways to prepare good meals. So then the kids will get lunch every day. The parents all work and the kids go to school from eight in the morning until 12:30 (p.m.) and then they are done for the day.”
Wallace said the government in Guatemala doesn’t support the school to feed children lunch. Wallace said first grade through sixth grade is taught.
“Anyone who wants to go past sixth grade, the student has to pay for that schooling themselves,” he said. “The community has to provide the building (for schools for younger children). The government only pays for the teaching materials and teachers.”
His wife, Karla, and daughter Lisa, a Hamilton Heights High School junior, joined Wallace, who lives in Cicero.
“My wife and daughter went on the same trip last year with the church,” Wallace said. “They had worked on a kitchen at a different school. When they left it wasn’t finished, but it’s all finished there. One morning we stopped by that school and saw the kitchen that they worked on before.”
Wallace said the school’s principal told them how much the kitchen has helped.
“That validates why you are there and makes you feel when you leave and it’s not finished, it will be finished,” he said.