Bret Harte Eighth Graders Fundraise for Washington D.C. annual trip

A photo of Bret Harte Elementary School eighth graders, who attended the Washington D.C. trip in 2017. – Courtesy of Bret Harte

Herald Intern

Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., aims to raise $20,000 to help its eighth-grade class visit Washington D.C. in the spring and is asking the Hyde Park community for support.

The excursion, held every year for Bret Harte’s graduating class, will take students to a number of museums and historical landmarks in the nation’s capital from April 25 to 27. This year, 30 eighth-graders have signed up for the educational D.C. trip.

“Many of our students have never left Chicago, let alone been on a plane,” said Kristina Lawson, the eighth-grade teacher spearheading the fundraising efforts for the class trip. “I just want all kids to experience history through this trip.”

Last year, students had the opportunity to visit the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History which ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. This year, the class might get the chance to take a peek at the new Obama portraits.

The cost of the trip is $1,050 per person. Parents have gathered half of the amount, leaving the remaining balance around $15,000 for students to raise through fundraisers. The due date for the payment is March 5, leaving just a week for students to gather the remaining amount.

“We’re hoping that we get more support from the Hyde Park community,” said Bret Harte Principal Charles Bright. “Every dollar helps, we started with washing cars and we’re trying every way we can to raise money for our eighth graders and the last push we hope comes from the community that has always supported Bret Harte.”

In the past, students have held fundraisers that included a Walk-A-Thon, fieldtrips, selling chocolates and dances.

This time around, eighth-graders will host a ‘Ties and Tiaras’ dance event on Saturday, March 3, in an effort to spark funds for the trip.

The family event hosted for K-8 grade students will be held at the Bret Harte gymnasium from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and tickets (sold at the door) will be $25 per couple. Proceeds will go to the D.C. trip.

“Last week the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference gifted the Bret Harte students a $1,000 grant for the trip,” said Bright, adding that he was thankful for the community support.

The school has also opened a Go Fund Me account to raise funds for the trip, so far the class has raised $2,388 of their $20,000 goal on the fundraising site. To access the site and make a donation, please visit .