One of the Veracruz teams: they want to see the ocean. One of the Veracruz teams: they want to see the ocean.

Students dream of seeing ocean, whales

They have never seen the sea but hope to win a contest and change that

A group of secondary school students from a small, mountain town in Veracruz are competing in a contest organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) through which they hope to realize a dream: travel to the sea for the first time in their lives.

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Three teams of four students each have joined the Megaviajeras (mega-travelers) national competition, organized along with Mexican mobile services provider Telcel.

The youths are students at the El Frijolillo secondary school in the town of Mariano Escobedo, located at 2,320 meters above sea level on the slopes of the Pico de Orizaba volcano. Despite being so close to the Gulf of Mexico, none has seen the ocean.

In an information talk about the Megaviajeras project the teenagers learned about the gray whale and its yearly migration from the shores of Alaska to the breeding lagoons of San Ignacio, Ojo de Liebre and Bahía Magdalena, in Baja California Sur.

“They also learned about the importance of caring for the environment and the protection of the whales,” said the students’ teacher, Rubí Fernández.

Once enrolled in the contest, where they are competing against 400 other teams, the students had to produce a drawing, sculpture, model, painting, cartoon mural or diorama alluding to the traveling whales.

The students’ work was then posted on Facebook and shared on the project’s dedicated website, La Naturaleza nos Llama (Nature Calls to Us).

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Voting is open to the public from November 22 until December 16, when the work given the most Facebook likes will be awarded the first prize of a trip for 10 to Baja California Sur.

At the start of the contest, the excited students began creating their pieces with whatever materials they found, their teacher told the newspaper El Universal.

One piece, entitled “As Fragile as Glass,” was made mostly of pieces of glass and paraffin while another, called “The Musical Whale,” creatively used broken compact discs to simulate the sea in a diorama.

In the third piece, “The Traveling Whale,” students used plastic soft drink bottles to give shape to a whale.

The students are now asking residents and other students to help by voting for their projects. They have also uploaded a video to Facebook.

“If we don’t win, we’ll keep going. It’s important for these youths to know that they must work hard every day. And no matter how, we’ll find a way to send them to the sea,” their teacher said.

“Life is a race of perseverance, not strength,” added Fernández.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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