Hate taking the bus to school? Try swimming! Indian students cross the Heran River to return home after attending school at Sevada village in Narmada District of Gujarat state, India (AP photos)
Hate taking the bus to school? Try swimming!
Lexile

It's a long, wet journey to school for 61 teenagers in part of western India. If they want to learn, they have no choice but to swim.

The boys and girls carry books, papers and changes of clothing in plastic bags or buoyant jugs as they cross the Heran River, shoulder deep in places. Parents or other adults sometimes accompany them on the 50-foot swim.

The girls put on their dry clothes in a small changing room, while the boys change on the riverbank.

The students then walk up to 3 miles to their high school in Gujarat state's Narmada District. It's shorter and quicker than the alternative. A road with a bridge takes a circuitous, 16-mile route. There's no public transportation.

The students say the swim is worth it for an education that can help lift them out of poverty in India, where at least 700 million people are living on less than $1.25 a day.

The Utavali High School principal said the students from the villages across the river are so determined to get to class, they have swum the river during heavy rain that made the currents more tumultuous.

The school is trying to accommodate them by forgiving late arrivals, and sending them home early if the weather is bad.

"We have asked for a bridge time and time again," Principal Rajendra Purohit said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are the teens so eager to learn? Is it because they love swimming to school?

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COMMENTS (24)
  • tybreland
    8/19/2014 - 08:50 a.m.

    It is amazing that these students travel a river to get to school.It is good a some cases that you have to go through that.Also it 's a problem for the river it may get to high and somebody mite drowned.I think it's kinda cool that you can swim to school,and its cool when its hot.

  • hannahsmith
    8/19/2014 - 08:51 a.m.

    Its interesting to see how determined these high school students are to get to class. learning and going to school will impact them in a big way, so its important that they get to school, no matter how they choose to get there. Its a small price to pay to ensure they have a bright future. However, they have a risk of getting sick or even injured while on their way. They still press on though, swimming to their school everyday, no matter what the weather.

  • Alister0206
    8/21/2014 - 02:39 p.m.

    I was surprised by how much bravery these kids had to cross a river even during bad weather luckily they where even smart enough to bring a change of clothing so they can have clean clothing at school.

  • PeytonS-Moo
    8/22/2014 - 10:33 a.m.

    I admire their determination to go to school! I don't know if I would have the courage to swim across a river! They should really build a bridge for the students that live on the opposite shore.

  • NatalieS-Wit
    9/02/2014 - 10:17 a.m.

    61 kids have to cross the Heran river everyday just to get to school i know if i had to do that i wouldn't go but i do agree with the principle of there school that they should build a bridge it takes the kids to much time to get there when they have to swim 500 feet plus they also have to bring extra clothes to change into hone they get there which takes more time they even go when it is raining when the rain currents could be tumults but i do think it is good that they would do anything to go to school

  • rhill-Cla
    9/04/2014 - 12:08 p.m.

    I don't think it is safe for young children to be swimming to school. I understand that it is there only way to get to the school, & that they care about their education enough to swim, but maybe the part of Western India should get together to make enough money to build a bridge. then again, it seems impossible because at least 700 people are living on less than $1.25 a day. Maybe the country needs to get involved on helping these kids find a better & a greater transportation to school.

  • ne2001bieber
    9/10/2014 - 01:03 p.m.

    The kids don't mind swimming to school because getting an education will get them out of poverty. They will make more money while most people live on $1.25 a day.

  • 3SaraS
    9/10/2014 - 05:40 p.m.

    Why are the teens so eager to learn? Is it because they love swimming to school?

    61 teenagers in western India are eager to learn because they say "the swim is worth if for an education that can help them out of poverty in India." I believe that the teens don't enjoy swimming to school though because they have to change once they're out of the water and then swim back at the end of the day. Also I think they don't like it because they have to put all their belongings in bags and make sure they don't end up all wet and ruined, it's a big hassle making sure everything is safe. The teenagers realize they don't have any other choice but to swim if they want an education though. Their motivation is so great, but I think they'd appreciate a bridge, it's to bad the government wouldn't consider it, or even raise money for it.

  • hollonj4
    9/19/2014 - 12:54 p.m.

    i think it is great for these kids to go through this to get to school and learn and get knowledge to get out of poverty.

  • barrett7800
    9/23/2014 - 05:49 p.m.

    I feel like determination to learn is clearly something that the rest of the world can learn from these kids. Learning isn't something that everyone gets to do, and we often take it for granted. The 61 kids can be used as an example for role model students that we should have now.

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