The annual eighth grade Washington, D.C. trip is set to occur April 25-28 following a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
Middle school Principal Jason Caudill said once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the main concern about the trip became affordability. The major expenses related to the trip, such as food, hotels and transportation, have become more expensive after the pandemic, he explained.
The trip is projected to cost around $750 per student, a $200 increase over previous years, Caudill said.
“We worked with the Parent Teacher Organization to figure out how much money we’d have to raise for the trip and then started setting goals and fundraising,” he said.
Funds have been collected through donations, yard sign sales, profit from school supply orders and spirit wear, Caudill said. There aren’t many changes to the trip and its itinerary, other than the price adjustment, he added.
In years past students have had the opportunity to visit a variety of historical sites, including the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial and Smithsonian Museums, Caudill said.
“One of the obstacles we were facing was that the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Museum of African American History are running at reduced capacity, so it was very hard to get tickets,” Caudill added.
Bexley City Council Member Jessica Saad said she is proud of the community’s overwhelming support of the effort to get the middle school’s students back to Washington, D.C.
“Here in Bexley, we value educational experiences outside of the classroom and believe financial need shouldn’t be a barrier,” Saad said. “The really great thing about this trip is that we provide for every single student to be able to have that opportunity.”
Eighth-grader Annmarie Carleton said she is excited to go on the trip after uncertainty over whether or not it would take place this year.
“There are so many things that you get to learn about when you’re over there, and I think that’s a great thing to be able to experience,” Carleton said.
Saad said she advocated on behalf of the community to reintroduce the trip because of its importance for students.
“As a community leader, there are times when you can help make change,” she said. “This was a good time to support the community’s request of making sure that this stays.”
Students should have the opportunity to engage with history, and not just read about it in school, she explained. These tangible experiences allow them to realize the countless opportunities ahead of them, she added.
“They’re actually getting to experience history in the field and stand in front of these memorials and museums with their peers,” Saad said. “It’s empowering in a whole different way.”
Caudill said the trip is a great way to celebrate and honor the students for their middle school careers.
“I also think it’s a good springboard into high school classes, so when they’re in government or U.S. history, they have that memory of the things they’re learning about,” he said.
Saad said she is glad to see Caudill and the teachers willing to put the time and effort into this valued trip.
“Every student may take something different away, but I know it will empower our future leaders to be a part of change,” she added.