GARY — Thirteen members of Roosevelt High school’s National Honor Society are planning to attend a leadership convention in Orlando, Fla. in mid-January.

The students have been working diligently to make the trip a reality, however, they have encountered a financial challenge that may be too great to overcome.

"With the burden of having to raise enough money and manage school work on top of other countless responsibilities, the students have been faced with numerous challenges," said teacher and NHS advisor Jamie Wolverton.

Matayzia Hughes, ranked No. 2 academically in her class, aspires to a career as a forensic psychologist. She believes the trip will benefit her by introducing her to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

“I feel the convention will give me practical leadership experience,” she said.

Students must meet astringent eligibility requirements to be accepted into the NHS — a 3.3 or above grade-point average, community service hours, and participation in service learning projects.

Princess Tucker, ranked at the top of her graduating class, has worked hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA while serving as co-president, with Hughes, of Roosevelt's NHS chapter.

“I believe that having the privilege to attend the convention will be an eye-opening experience. It will enable me to make my success become a reality,” added Tucker, who plan to become an anesthesiologist.

"The students of Roosevelt’s NHS have set goals for themselves, all while staying on the right track," Wolverton said. 

Junior Robbie Benson said: “I’ve personally had friends who decided to drop out of school. I have friends who are teen parents, as well as friends who made bad decisions. But I don’t let that take a toll on myself or my education.”

With Wolverton's encouragement, fundraisers, and donations from local businesses such as Charmeuse Lime, Wal-Mart, Robinson’s Ribs, and Powers & Son’s Construction, the NHS members have earned a large portion of the funds needed for the trip.

"There’s still more on their plate' so they won’t be easing up any time soon," Wolverton said.

To lend support to Roosevelt’s NHS trip, call Wolverton at (219) 881-1500 or donate online at https://www.gofundme.com/ue2yfwss.

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Annette is Porter County Community Coordinator for The Times. She has been with the paper for 20 years. A resident of Hobart, she graduated from Purdue University with degrees in English and German.