SARATOGA SPRINGS — Three hundred students, eight buses, and five hours of driving led to an educational experience of a lifetime for Maple Avenue Middle School’s eighth graders.
After being inspired by Ballston Spa Middle school (who have taken their eighth-grade students to D.C before), eighth-grade teachers at Maple Ave. Middle School persisted in seeking approval and support to take their students out of the classroom for a hands-on learning experience. The biggest obstacle faced organizing and executing the trip was gathering the funds; successfully, approximately $20,000 was raised.
"We wanted every student to be able to financially go. We were not excluding anybody,” said Trisha Phillips, an eighth grade English teacher at Maple Ave. Middle School. “The community really came together. Parents out of nowhere sent a check to be able to sponsor a kid."
Once arriving in D.C the students and teachers ventured throughout the city with their tour guides learning myriads of topics through visiting monuments, memorials and museums.
"Going down there and having a tour guide, and they are educating you. They make it eighth-grade friendly too so you can really understand it," said Phillips.
The visit was worth every fundraiser, and every dime donated as it was not only fulfilling for the teachers but for the student’s as well.
"I really liked all of the history I experienced in the museums. You can’t find that in a textbook," said Lily Cubanski, Maple Ave. eighth-grade student. "I feel like going to D.C. made students more excited to learn about history in ways that they wouldn't learn in a classroom.”
Small donations and community involvement played a hand in showing children of Saratoga how exciting and how vast the history of our nation truly is. The teachers are grateful for the opportunity to incorporate the trip into the school curriculum. "
I want to say a huge thank you, to all of the people who contributed. There were 8 to 10 Saratoga businesses who stepped up to the plate to contribute,” said Phillips. “All the teachers at Ballston Spa that were really so giving and willing to give us their ideas and to support and help us. And the superintendent and principal who gave us the green light to be able to make it happen."
Be sure to check out next week’s edition of Saratoga TODAY for Cubanski’s article, recalling their trip to D.C.