Local academy relying on donations to take a trip to nation’s capital

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of students in Oklahoma City are the next generation of leaders with the help of the Roosevelt Student Leadership Academy.

The academy is an after-school program that works with students in some of the state's lower-income areas.

However, organizers are hoping to give those students the chance to meet today's leaders at the nation’s capital.

Lauren Knobbe, co-founder of the Roosevelt Student Leadership Academy, said, "We raised just a little over $35,000 just since, really September and we have a little less than $5,000 to go for the trip."

Ninety-nine percent of the students at Roosevelt Middle School live at or below the poverty level.

A free trip to Washington D.C. is an experience many never thought they'd get.

Students like 14-year-old Jacky Gonzalez, who is enrolled in the program, is excited for the chance to head across the country.

Gonzalez said, "Going to Washington is going to be a huge opportunity and it's amazing. That's the first place I'm going out-of-state."

Jacky’s mom cleans homes and businesses for a living.

Loren Capron, an apartment complex owner, heard about the project and donated more than $500 so Gonzalez would be able to have the trip of a lifetime.

Capron said, “I can tell you it will have a world impact on her and she will broaden her view and her mind and be able to think about things as she goes on with her studies."

She added, "And I hope there are children even from our school systems that will become involved in not only federal government but state government and local government, so that's why I did it."

The program started just this school year and hopes to create leaders who will improve the culture in the school.

Knobbe said, “We are just giving our kids the exposure to opportunities and also teaching them along the way about what it takes to be a leader."

Gonzalez is grateful to those who made this opportunity a reality for her.

She said, "Thanks for this amazing opportunity to be able to go to. I'm honored."

On Saturday morning, Roosevelt students and teachers will be serving pancakes at the Applebee's, located on S.W. 3 and Meridian, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The students will receive $5 for every pancake meal sold.

They hope they can raise the remaining $5,000 needed for the trip to Washington D.C.

To send in a donation, click here.