ST. GEORGE — A Minnesota bus has a new owner and a new route.
Dylan Ence, a senior at Dixie High School, is attempting to make a world of difference for students in another country. The St. George local purchased bus No. 65 and is using it to house and transport school supplies to a village in Patamban Michoacan, Mexico.
The project began four years ago when Ence visited the village. Ence told St. George News that he witnessed the students living in poverty as they tried to get an education. During the visit, Ence and his family purchased and donated sports equipment to the school for physical education classes.
Afterward, he went to the teachers and principal and asked how he could offer further help. Ence noticed that many of the students were staying at the school while he was there four years ago during a holiday weekend. He later discovered that students would walk to school and stay there for days, weeks and even months in order to ensure they could get to classes.
That’s when Ence got the idea to donate a school bus.
“I had heard of groups that have donated them, so I was like, ‘Well, why can’t I do that myself?'” he said. “Shoot for something big, and maybe we can make a change.”
The at-the-time freshman began collection donations almost immediately. Not long after, Ence purchased a bus from an auction site in Minnesota and drove it back to Utah.
Since then, Ence has been collecting school supplies, backpacks and clothes for the students of Patamban Michoacan. The goal, he said, is to fill the bus with as many donations as possible before Ence, his family and another family from Patamban Michoacan drive the bus to Mexico in December.
It’s a three-day trip from St. George to Patamban Michoacan, but city officials and the school’s principal are meeting him and his travel companions at the border. Before the trip, Ence has to wrap up paperwork to ensure the bus and the supplies are ready to cross the border into Mexico.
Bountiful Elementary has donated 35 backpacks. The school is also participating in a “Sock-tober” to collect socks that will be donated to the village.
“It’s been a long project of small donations,” he said. “Then, finally, it just jumped to a bigger one.”
Ence said he has raised $540 for additional school supplies and residents have been dropping off supply donations for the bus. The high school senior is still collecting donations for additional school supplies and gas money.
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