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Working their way to the capitol: Eighth graders to go on historical tour in June

SUN photo/Shanti Johnson Pagosa eighth graders are ready to travel to the east coast this summer with history teacher Scott White. The group will travel to five major cities, meet with legislators in Washington, D.C., and experience our nation’s historical sites firsthand.

SUN photo/Shanti Johnson
Pagosa eighth graders are ready to travel to the east coast this summer with history teacher Scott White. The group will travel to five major cities, meet with legislators in Washington, D.C., and experience our nation’s historical sites firsthand.

Thirty-eight eighth graders will be traveling with junior high history teacher Scott White, along with eight other chaperons, to the east coast this June to experience our nation’s historical sites firsthand.

This is the largest group of students to travel with White in the five years he has been making the trip.

This year’s trip is also providing a unique opportunity for a college student who hopes to become a U.S. History teacher, offering him hands-on teaching experience alongside White.

The group will depart from Durango June 10, heading first to Boston, where White will cover the beginning of the American Revolution.

The group will continue traveling, stopping in New York City, Philadelphia, Williamsburg and Washington, D.C., until they return home on June 20.

Along the way, students will see key historical landmarks, experience watching a Broadway show, tour the U.S. capital, meet with congressional representatives, tour museums and make a personal connection with the history they are currently studying in White’s class.

The trip, spearheaded by White, is organized in collaboration with Education First (EF) and the Smithsonian Institution.

According to their website, EF, “is the largest private educational organization in the world.”

EF’s mission is, “to break down the barriers of language, culture and geography,” by offering students and teachers hands-on learning opportunities through travel.

EF offers group rates for students going on the tour, but the trip still costs money that the students must raise on their own.

Each student is responsible for coming up with $2,500, which will pay for all of their expenses during the trip, including transportation, food, lodging and the sites.

“The kids earn this 100 percent themselves,” White said in an interview.

According to White, students have been working hard all year to raise the money. Teaching students to earn their own way is another reason White finds the trip valuable.

Students are holding bake sales, yard sales and doing miscellaneous jobs to meet their goal. One student has made 25 cupcakes every single week and has brought them to school to sell; another is selling a calendar complied of pictures he took himself.

White said that he is impressed with all of the hard work the students are putting in to make this trip happen, but he states that they still need the community’s support.

One way community members can help support the students is by heading to Dorothy’s Restaurant next Friday, March 28. Students will be taking over as servers from 4 p.m. until close, and all of the tips they earn will go directly to funding their trip.

The students are also planning to have a donation table, along with homemade cakes up for silent auction, during their time in restaurant.

Students plan to swap out as servers at Dorthy’s two or three other times in the next three months in order to give all 38 participants a chance to earn money.

Community members can also help students reach their goal by purchasing baked goods, (often being sold at Ace Hardware), or other items from students.

Community members interested in helping students fund their trip can contact White at 946-1785 or swhite@pagosa.k12.co.us.

shanti.johnson@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on March 20, 2014.