The Mountain Heritage Spanish Club trip to Guatemala had to be cancelled
A 10 day trip planned by the Mountain Heritage High School Spanish Club to the International Language School in Antigua, Guatemala was cancelled late last Thursday, a day before they were scheduled to leave. The trip was arranged through the International Language Center (ILC) which owns several schools around the world. Fourteen MHHS students and five chaperones were to travel to the International Language School in Antigua, Guatemala to participate in an educational opportunity of cultural immersion. Plane tickets were booked in the name of Mountain Heritage High School by ILC and a small down payment of $1,000.00 had been placed on the tickets. On Thursday, when using the access code to download the tickets, school staff was informed that the remaining amount of the tickets, of approximately $12,000.00, had not been paid. In contacting the school in Guatemala, Yancey school officials found all arrangements had been made for housing, lessons and excursions, but knew nothing about the plane tickets. Yancey County Schools contacted the owner of ILC in Michigan and were told that it was their understanding that all arrangements were complete and paid in full. The location of the missing funds is still under investigation. At this point the total dollar amount lost is approximately $26,000, as well as the loss of this opportunity for the students. These students and their families, as well as the chaperones, have spent money for passports, proper vaccinations, luggage, clothes, and numerous other items in preparation for the trip. Yancey County School officials are fully cooperating with police departments here and in Michigan to investigate this matter as a criminal case. Additionally, Yancey Schools is working with the school attorney to pursue options regarding this case as a civil matter. Parents have been contacted and updated on what is known at this point and a meeting has been scheduled with them and school administration in the cafeteria at MHHS, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at 5:30 p.m.