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TCNJ Bonner Alum Organizes Fundraiser to Send Her Students to Costa Rica

Kat Avila with some of her students hoping to travel to Costa Rica this summer.

TCNJ Bonner alum, Katherine Avila, has continued her dedication to serving the community, both at home and abroad. As a teacher with Teach for America in the District of Columbia, Kat has put her values to work. She teaches at Anacostia Senior High School, an urban school in which 100 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch. Anacostia serves many students that other schools have given up on due to age and/or behavioral problems. Given their disadvantages, Kat attests to their strong work ethic and ambitions. Recently, she has put together a successful fundraiser with to raise money for some of her students in 11th and 12th grades to travel to Costa Rica to learn Spanish. Her students have aspirations to accomplish great things by learning a different language and graduating high school. A project like this has never been undertaken by the school before, and Kat wanted to do something “not every first year teacher would do.”

“I first thought about my experience in Trenton High School and all the opportunities I didn’t have as a student,” Kat revealed. “I didn’t get to study abroad until I entered [The College of New Jersey] and I wish I would’ve had that opportunity in high school. When I went to Nicaragua with Bonner, the summer before I started teaching, I saw a group of 6th graders with a teacher having a great time. I then realized that was going to be my goal for my first year. To give my student the opportunity to appreciate a country and culture very different from their own. I planned on doing this by taking them to a spanish speaking country. Many students in America do not know where different countries are located around the world. Traveling is the best way to learn.”

Kat used, an online charity where public school teachers can post classroom project requests, and users can give any amount of money to the project that they are inspired to give. has helped 147,615 teachers raise almost $180,000,000 to helped 8,883,979 students across the country. 70 percent of projects that are posted to are funded and 94 percent of teachers said that their funded projects increased their effectiveness in the classroom.

Kat is excited to provide this opportunity to her students and is grateful for the generosity of the 80 donors who have already contributed towards this project. To donate to her cause, visit