By Bret Harte Elementary School

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Over the past couple of years, we have taken approximately 30 enthusiastic 8th graders on their first Washington D.C. Trip. Just like last the couple of years, we are hoping to continue this tradition.  My students are eager and energetic.  They want to see what the world has to offer.  However, 80% of them are considered low income. For many of them, this would be the  trip of a lifetime. Many have never flown anywhere before. We are a small school, but  part of one of the largest city public school systems in the US. Some of our students  struggle with paying for basic fees and local school trips.

It is not rare for staff members to provide clothing for a few of our students. We will have small fundraisers consisting of school car washes, taffy apples sales, and bake sales. This will be great morale and the students are determined to work for their funding. .However, this type of funding is not enough when we have a handful of students who can pay nothing towards the trip.

My Project

A trip to Washington, D.C., has become a rite of passage for many 8th graders. (I went to DC when I was in 8th grade back in the '90's) Many other schools in our system organize a trip to DC for their 8th graders. When we started planning for this 8th grade class at the start of school a month ago, the first thing that came up was "We're taking them to DC,  just like we did with last years class!" That was what was going to open their eyes, expose them to the workings of our country, and provide them an opportunity to spur so many other learning moments. The students will learn plenty, academically, about the legislative system, the organization of our government, the monuments that represent so many lives lost and what that means. We have an inside tour of the White House promised as well and have the hope of meeting the president! Beyond all of this, the students will learn about a city outside of their own, social skills that are needed to succeed beyond school, and the dedication and hard work it takes to accomplish a trip like this.

If you can help, in any way, you will be broadening the horizons of these students. You will be providing experiential learning that is priceless. Prior to going on the trip, we will read a novel set in Vietnam in 1975- just think about how they will react to being able to touch the names of those soldiers on the Vietnam Memorial. You will be opening up an entire new world for most of the students by supporting our trip. Thank you for anything you can donate.

Below I included a picture of our recent 8th grade class and an article from a previous 8th grade class that was in DNA Info.

Bret Harte Kids Washing Cars and Selling Apples to Get to Washington


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