KGUN 9NewsSpirit of Southern Arizona


Students get ready for the trip of a lifetime

Posted at 2:44 PM, May 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 13:27:15-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — 36 high school students will be getting the trip of a lifetime to the Alaskan wilderness.

STEP, an Arizona nonprofit, has been putting together expedition trips since 2005. The goal of the trip is to push students out of their comfort zone.

"What I get from students is if I could do STEP and I could do Alaska than I can do anything," Tracy Baynes, the founder of STEP said. "We find our students come back with a lot of confidence and a larger world view."

The students selected come from low-income families and are students who will be first-generation college students.

"This experience going into the unknown and being able to conquer that experience allows them to be in a much better place to go and start their college career," Baynes added.

"There was a lot of personal growth," Alicia Salazar Contreras said about her experience on the trip. "There was a lot more confidence when I got back."

The trip was the longest she had been away from home. This was a good way to prepare her for the college experience that was just around the corner.

While on the trip the students do not have phones. Salazar Contreras said she also made lifelong friends during her experience.

"I feel a lot more ready to be able to I guess see what else I can do with this world," Salazar Contreras said.

That is what Daniel Morales is looking for ahead of his trip in just a few weeks.

"With the expedition I really am looking forward to those lifelong friends that I'll meet and that personal growth," Morales said.

STEP does more than just the expedition to help low-income students earn a college degree. To learn more about the expedition or STEP, click here.

Greg Bradbury is a reporter for KGUN 9. Greg is a graduate of Syracuse University where he studied Broadcast Journalism and Spanish. Greg joined KGUN 9 in February 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist after working at the ABC National Desk as a Digital News Associate. Share your story ideas and important issues with Greg by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.