Bret Harte’s Eighth Graders thank community donors for successful trip to Washington D.C.

The graduating group of eighth graders from Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., took the traditional class picture in front of the White House during the school’s annual trip to Washington D.C. – Photo courtesy of Bret Harte Elementary School

By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
Herald Intern

Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., recently welcomed back its eighth graders from their annual class visit to Washington D.C. after successful fundraising from the Hyde Park community, students, and parents made the trip possible.

The excursion is held every year for Bret Harte’s graduating class, where students are taken to a number of museums and historical landmarks in the nation’s capital from April 25 through 27. This year, 31 eighth-graders signed up for the educational D.C. trip.

Eighth grade students, Bianca Pierce and Mooreyah Stewart strike a pose with the statues of Serena and Venus Williams at the National Museum of African American History and Culture during Bret Harte Elementary School’s Eighth Grade Class trip to Washington D.C. – Photo courtesy of Bret Harte Elementary School

“We are so fortunate and blessed to live in such a caring and compassionate community,” said Kristina Lawson, a teacher at Bret Harte who helped organize the trip. “We are also fortunate that there is a deep understanding of and commitment to empowering the lives of our eighth graders. Students were able to see history come to life by visiting the U.S. Capitol Building, the White House, the Smithsonian museums, George Washington’s estate and many more attractions. For some students, this was their first time traveling on an airplane, which was an experience all in itself.”

The cost of the trip was $1,050 per person. By February, parents had gathered half of the total amount leaving around $15,000 for the students to fundraise on their own. In response to this, the eighth graders got creative and held a number of events leading up to the trip including a Walk-A-Thon, fieldtrips, selling chocolates and hosting school dances. Finally, the class reached out to the Herald to spread the word of their efforts for one last boost of community support from the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Jaylen Grant, an eighth grader at Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., always asks his teachers to take pictures of him with his favorite former president, Abraham Lincoln. According to his teacher, Kristina Lawson, Grant even purchased a top hat to match Abe Lincoln’s style during the class visit to the Ford Theatre in the nation’s capitol. This photo was taken during Bret Harte Elementary School’s Eighth Grade Class trip to Washington D.C. – Photo courtesy of Bret Harte Elementary School

Lawson said the class received a number of anonymous donations to their Go Fund Me account ranging from $20 to $100 dollars per donor. The Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference donated $1,000 and Mac Properties also donated a private amount to the class.

“Bret Harte would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the donors including Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC) and Mac Properties to the eighth grade class trip. Without the generous support of the parents, staff and donors, this trip for our 31 eighth graders would not have been possible,” added Lawson.

Bret Harte students Teryl Bailey, Kamaya Brame, Diana Barrera, and Ahmariyah Pugh pose with Eleanor Roosevelt’s statue during the eighth grade class trip to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. Behind Mrs. Roosevelt’s statue, is the United Nation’s seal honoring her service as one of the first delegates from the U.S. in the UN. – Photo courtesy of Bret Harte Elementary School

Students were said to have had a blast discovering the nation’s past, present and future through their tours visiting the numerous memorials, monuments, and museums D.C. has to offer. The eighth graders even got the chance to visit the new Obama portraits at the Smithsonian museum.

Bret Harte eighth grade students Isaiah Davis, Kwame Henley, Darius Jordan, and Jeremiah Lewis spend some time with their teacher Michael Hatcher in between their busy day visiting museums during their class trip to Washington D.C. – Photo courtesy of Bret Harte Elementary School

“Our students had an incredible experience and we are very thankful for all the community support,” said Bret Harte Principal Charles Bright. “For them to be able to have this one last big learning experience together before graduating is something we really value. We look forward to doing it again next year.”

hpherald@hpherald.com