Ferndale High School sophomore Rebecca Phoenix is dreaming of being able to "experience the wonder of Japan."
Phoenix got into the Japanese culture through anime and enjoys researching the country and reading about Japanese mythology in her spare time.
She has the chance to go on a trip to Japan this summer, but she and her classmates first have to come up with $5,000 each.
Phoenix is one of several Ferndale students in Karen Kaczmarek's Japanese class at the six-school consortium Center for Advanced Studies and the Arts, or CASA, located in Oak Park.
She and about nine other students from her class would be embarking on a 12-day trip to Japan with Kaczmarek, who has taken three other groups of students there in previous years.
"This would be super cool that I could go visit something that I've read about for ages," Phoenix said. "Everybody who is trying to go really wants to go but they also understand that they might not be able to."
To help make it happen, the students are hosting a silent auction and spaghetti dinner from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 at Clawson City Hall's community room. Pizza, spaghetti and soda will be served, and the event also includes a silent auction, 50-50 raffle, and student artwork for sale.
The cost is $5 at the door, with all proceeds benefiting the Japan trip fund. The amount raised in group fundraising efforts will be spread evenly among the students involved in it.
Phoenix said she's hoping for a big turnout.
"I really want to bring in a lot of money for everybody that's going. I want to run out of food," she said.
Kaczmarek said she didn't plan on initiating a trip to Japan this year, with airfare and the exchange rate making the trip more expensive than in the past. She also understands it's a difficult time to be fundraising for a trip.
Her students were so excited about the opportunity, though, that she let them lead the way.
"It's a lot of money to raise in a short amount of time," Kaczmarek said. "We are trying really hard to make it this year."
The group would be staying in a hotel and traveling to various sights such as museums, Peace Park, Tokyo, Kyoto, tea fields, rice fields and more.
It's a very educational experience, she said, especially when it comes to learning about the three different Japanese alphabets.
"You're just always seeing it and it really reinforces the reading - they become faster at it, decoding it," Kaczmarek said. "It just reinforces everything we've learned in the classroom."