CENTRAL POINT — After two years of fundraising for a trip to Japan, the only thing that could have quashed the plans and enthusiasm of nearly a dozen Crater Renaissance Academy students was a natural disaster.

CENTRAL POINT — After two years of fundraising for a trip to Japan, the only thing that could have quashed the plans and enthusiasm of nearly a dozen Crater Renaissance Academy students was a natural disaster.

With Japan still reeling from the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear crisis, students at Crater are focusing both on finding a trip elsewhere in the world and figuring out a way to extend their sympathies to the people whose culture they have spent much of the school year studying.

The group has raised and saved $2,800 for each student to make the trip. The plan was to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Asaka from March 17-26 to study Japanese culture.

Arts and humanities teacher Katie Barber said students will still take a trip together as a group. She's directed the students, during spring break, to research other possible trips and to brainstorm ways to send some type of comfort to the Japanese people.

"The earthquake hit a week before we were supposed to leave. At this point, I've given them an assignment to shop for another trip during spring break," Barber said.

"I don't think it's an appropriate time to be going over there," she said. "Number one, the tour company canceled the trip. But also we all agreed, culturally and from a humanitarian point of view, it would be the wrong thing to do."

Barber said when students return from spring break next week, they'll brainstorm with the school's multicultural student union about ways to help.

"They're going through so much right now. We just really want to think of something we could do for them," said Barber.

To offer fundraising ideas, email Barber at catherine.barber@district6.org.