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!

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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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  • Aw2001soccer
    9/26/2014 - 01:03 p.m.

    They are eager to learn because their education is important to them not because they get to swim to school. they are less fortunate then some of us and they want to have education so they can become very smart so they can succeed in life.

  • Kaileym-Lam
    9/30/2014 - 10:48 a.m.

    I think it's really cool that some kids in India care so much about their education that they are willing to swim and walk 3 miles and 50 feet just to go to school. I don't think American kids understand how important education is. I think we should be grateful that we live close to our schools, and that we have public transportation.

    10/16/2014 - 04:46 p.m.

    I think its really sad how these people are willing to swim so far over a filthy lake in India just to go to school. Most of us including me take our education for granted. Some don't want to come to school and don't really care. These people have to swim in horrible conditions to come to school. I'm really thankful for what I have and the conditions I live in. I hope that there's a bridge built there so these people don't have to swim nearly 3 miles for a education.

  • claudiam-Koc
    10/19/2014 - 08:03 p.m.

    The teenagers are so eager to learn that it is not because they love to swim it is because there educational needs is very important to each one of these teenagers. Having to swim is not an option for these teenagers it is a priority to get to one to point a to point B. 50 feet deep into the water students swim to their high school each day. Sometimes the adults and parents will accompany them to the river. On some days of teachers and staff will send them the students home if the weather is bad. My question about this article is if the teachers and staff have to swim also or do they have another way of transportation? This is another great inspirational way for students in other countries to realize how grateful they are with transportation. Some walk some red buses some drive and some swim . Unfortunately people might think this is a joke but it is no joke this is their way of getting their education . It seems that in other countries education is more important than other countries around the world. By reading this article it is obvious that students want to learn as much as they can to provide a better lifestyle

  • Caitlinl-Lam
    10/22/2014 - 11:44 a.m.

    I find it inspiring that they swim to school. Most kids here in America would complain about a long trip in a car. The fact that these kids swim to school every day even when it's stormy out proves that they are strong and want with all their heart to go to school. Every day at that, I admired that they would do that for school, that they risk their lives just to go to school. That is truly amazing.

  • MikaylaStazewski-Ste
    10/23/2014 - 12:23 p.m.

    The fact that people have to swim to get to school is honestly crazy to me. It just shows how much people value their education though.

  • Haley Patterson
    10/27/2014 - 01:34 p.m.

    These kids must be really determined to learn. I think kids in the United States take school for granted. We even skip school just because we want to and then there are these kids that cross shoulder deep water in bad weather just so that they can learn. I honestly have to give these kids a huge amount of respect to be willing to cross water in whatever kind of weather so that they can get their education.

  • MadisonSch
    10/27/2014 - 01:45 p.m.

    I would love to swim to school not because I want an education but for the fun of it. Just think if we cut down on the cars and road there will be less pollution in the air.

  • LoretoBarreraFall
    11/02/2014 - 11:22 p.m.

    About 61 Students from western India are forced to swim everyday in order to get to their school.
    It is the easiest way to go because is the shorter path.
    They are accustomed to do that and they carry their books and dry clothes in plastic bags while they are swimming.

    Teens are eager to go to the school fighting against lack of public transportation problems because they want to overcome poverty (in the present days they are living on less than $1.25 a day).

  • TreyvaunT
    11/14/2014 - 01:44 p.m.

    There is no way. It just wouldn't happen. I would take cyber school. They must be dedicated to go to school. I'm not though. They really do need to get them the bridge.

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