Rock Creek fifth-graders unite for a cause

Bunco, auction raising funds to send students to camp
By: Amy Lobenberg, Journal Correspondent
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Rock Creek Elementary  First Annual Bunco Night and Silent Auction Fundraiser
Where: First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ at 710 Auburn Ravine Road, Auburn
When: April 26, 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Why: Proceeds benefit the 5th Grade Outdoor Education Program
Cost: $25 per person. Payable to “Rock Creek School” and tax deductible
Includes: Authentic Mexican dinner, five raffle tickets, two drink tickets, and bunco games with prizes
Contact: Call Rock Creek School Office at (530) 885-5189 to purchase tickets, make a business donation, or sponsor a student for $230.


Rock Creek Elementary school will be hosting its first ever bunco and silent auction fundraiser on April 26, in an effort to send its fifth grade class to Camp Augusta in Nevada City.
In recent years, students have been unable to attend camp due to financial hardship. Rock Creek Elementary’s student population is 91 percent free and reduced lunch. According to 2012 statistics from Rock Creek’s accountability report card, the school is comprised of 61.2 percent Hispanic or Latino students and 31.1 percent white students. The staff, students, and parents hope to reach their goal of $10,000 (or $230 per child), so that all 45 fifth-graders can attend camp for two days and one night in May.
Claudia Wilson is one of the bunco night co-chairs and has been teaching at Rock Creek since 1989. She believes that attending Camp Augusta will greatly benefit her fifth grade students.
 “I wanted them to go to a camp where they could have fun while also learning,” Wilson said. “At Camp Augusta they will learn team building skills. They will be doing things where they will have to work together to accomplish a goal. They will also have to practice good communication. The camp takes book learning out of the picture and focuses on skill learning and collaboration. It also takes them away from video games, call phones, and other types of technology. They can focus on figuring out what their strengths are. This experience will help them develop character, while still letting them be kids.”
According to Wilson, some of her students’ parents are struggling because they are currently unemployed or working several jobs at a time to support their families. Rock Creek parents are very supportive and appreciative of the school and their children’s teachers.
Simon Bermudez-Dunn, whose daughter Zoë is a fifth grader at Rock Creek, believes that his daughter will have the opportunity to expand her imagination while at Camp Augusta. He is thankful that her school is helping to give her that experience.
“This is a chance for our kids to develop themselves,” said Bermudez-Dunn. “The fact that we can’t afford to do this for them kills me. They could be future doctors or artists. There is only so much parents can do when they are working two to three jobs.”
Camp Augusta is located on over 80 acres of land outside of Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada foothills. According to the assistant director, Tom Cox, the camp’s mission is about reclaiming the wonder of being a child by providing an experience that encourages personal growth and an appreciation of the outdoors.
“We have a developmental approach with all activities and we approach everything with individual attention,” said Cox. “We are able to build on each child’s basic skills because we have a staff-to-camper ration of one to two. No camper is left out or left behind.”
According to Wilson, many of her students at Rock Creek have never been away from home or have only been as far as Roseville. They are eager to see what going to camp is like.
 “They are very energetic, caring, and love to be outdoors,” Wilson said. “Right now they are beyond excited. I think they are finally realizing that going to camp might actually happen. It’s becoming real to them.”
Gracie Maldonado, a fifth grade student at Rock creek, is excited to do and learn new things at Camp Augusta.
“I’m excited about ziplining because I have never done it and I think I may be a little nervous,” said Maldonado. “I also get to sleep in a cabin with my best friends and we get to talk and play.”
Maldonado hopes to be able to eventually give back to the Auburn community by becoming a Placer County Sheriff’s deputy.
“I want to help people from crashing on the road,” said Maldonado. “I also want to help stop drunk driving so people don’t die or get injured.”
Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes recently donated $230, which covers the cost of sending one student to camp. All three of his children went to Rock Creek and he believes that the school deserves recognition.
“Rock Creek has always been close to my heart because it is an underserved population,” said Holmes. “I’m confident that the teachers there do the best for the kids. I would encourage anyone who reads this to donate.”