By Karen Daniels
For the past 15 years, 8th grade students who meet the grade and conduct criteria are eligible for a five day trip to Washington D.C. and New York City to learn about history and government. For the past 13 years, Washington D.C. Club Sponsor, Carin Williamson, has chaperoned these students, some of whom will travel out of the state for the very first time. At the Stafford MSD October Board meeting, after some discussion, this year’s trip was approved again. Several Board Members asked about cost and ways to fund some of the students with scholarships. The cost per student is $2,194, and at a District where 65% of the students are economically challenged, this can be an enormous amount of money.
Ms. Williamson explained that 11 students have submitted essays in the hopes to receive a scholarship. Last year, due to the generosity of Stafford businesses and citizens, enough money was donated to offer two full scholarships to the winning essay entries. Once again, Stafford and the Washington D.C. Club are seeking donations from the community for these scholarships.
In addition, the students will also hold a fundraiser, but this will cover extras like lunches for the five days, tee-shirts, and baggage fees not included in the cost per student.
In Washington D.C. some of the tours for the students will include The White House, Lincoln Memorial, Library of congress, Unites States Supreme Court, United States Capital, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. In New York City, students will visit Times Square, see a Broadway performance, pay tribute at Ground Zero, visit Central Park and shop on Fifth Avenue. No doubt these kids will be kept extremely busy as they have the time of their young lives.
Also recognized at the Board Meeting was Anitrice Austin who was awarded the Golden ACE Award for the after-school program at Stafford MSD as a top-site coordinator. Ms. Austin was one of only three after-school coordinators chosen from over 800 eligible by the Texas Education Agency. Currently the Stafford after-school program serves over 200 students with educational activities that are both fun and engaging.
Way to go Ms. Austin!