CROSS COUNTRY TEAM TO BUILD HOUSES FOR NEEDY IN MEXICO

December 11, 2007 11:00 pm

By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

Being a high school student isn't always just about academics and athletics.

Sometimes, it's about going the extra mile and doing a little more.

In February, 10 members of the Brookings-Harbor High School (BHHS) cross country team will be heading across the border to build houses for needy families in Mexico.

The 10 students, along with Coach Terry Axel, will be traveling to Guerrero Negro in Baja, Mexico for a week of gruelling work.

Along with building four or five homes with other teams, the students will work with children in the local orphanage.

"This is really an incredible learning experience for the kids," Axel said. "They're going to come back with a whole new perspective. It's going to affect all aspects of their lives."

Axel and his daughter Amy, a senior at BHHS, have made the trip in the past with Axel's brother, Rory, who takes his cross country team from Spokane, Wash., to build houses in Mexico each year.

After hearing stories about the trips, members of the cross country team asked Axel about going themselves.

Because of scheduling conflicts with other sports and a few passport issues, not everyone on the team is able to go.

But for the 10 student athletes who will make the trek down to Mexico, the hard work begins now with fundraising.

The team has to raise $1,200 for their building fund in order to erect their house.

Any extra funds donated to the team will go toward buying furniture for the newly built house and to the children at the orphanage.

Current fundraisers include selling raffle tickets and mistletoe, and "forking" a friend's lawn.

The team will also be looking for sponsors for a Work-A-Thon, where the students will work for people in the community who can no longer do the work for themselves.

"The community and local businesses have been great so far," Axel said. "They've been letting the students stand in front of their stores to sell things and have donated to our raffle as well."

For any questions on how to donate to the team, purchase raffle tickets or help the team in any way, call Axel at (541) 469-0522.