The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
King George art students plan trip to Europe
BY LINDLEY ESTES
While working with clay and weaving wall hangers, members of King George Elementary’s art club chat excitedly about seeing some of the world’s finest artworks.
Next summer, some of these budding artists will go on a field trip to Europe. At the Louvre In Paris, they’ll experience “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix and “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci. They’ll also visit other museums.
The trip to France and Germany is the being planned by the school’s art club sponsor and art teacher Mary Hennessy.
“It’s really important for kids to experience the wider world and experience great artworks for themselves,” Hennessy said. “It’s a really good way to get students to be aware of the world around them.”
The art club at King George Elementary has about 50 students and allows them to work on art projects from home or expand what they have learned in class.
Last year, Hennessy took two children and a parent to Italy. She said this year’s group can have up to 40 participants.
Michael Rose, chairman of the King George School Board, said the division approves a trip for the high school almost every year from either the French, Spanish, and German clubs or a combination of those clubs working together.
“Last year was the first time we approved a trip for the elementary level,” he said. “We hope the students will get an appreciation for other cultures and a healthy respect of our own.”
Many school systems across the nation are reducing the number of field trips as a cost-cutting measure.
In a recent article in USA Today, Deborah Rigsby, director of federal legislation with the National School Boards Association, said many school systems are considering layoffs for teachers and staff or cutting popular programs.
Increasingly, schools are cutting field trips because of gas prices, insurance liability and admission fees.
King George County is not being asked to contribute to the Europe trip. Instead, the costs will be covered by parents and fundraisers. The cost per traveler hasn’t been set.
The King George Elementary art club is fundraising for the trip by selling citrus fruits. The drive will last through todayNov. 27.
Hennessy wants the students to see the Louvre and Versailles while in Paris and tour castles in Germany.
She said the trip is an opportunity for the diverse group of students in King George including low-income, farm and military families who would not otherwise be able to travel aboard.
The trip is open to any King George student 11 or older.
Sixth-grader Angel Paz plans to go on the trip this summer.
“I can’t wait,” he said.
Angel, 11, has been to Ecuador to visit family, but said he is excited to go to Europe for the first time.
“I’m just so surprised about being able to go to another country,” he said.
He hopes in a few years there will be a trip to Japan so he can meet video game creators and see Tokyo.
Janay Holmes, a 10-year-old fifth-grader, said that when she is old enough to go on one of the trips she wants to visit England.
“I think it’s cool how we can go to a far away place,” she said as she worked on a wall hanging depicting a sunset.
Another art club member, Skyler Cantrell, a 9-year-old fourth-grader, said he wants to go to Greece.
Skyler likes learning about Greek myths.
“I think we would have so much fun,” he said. For now, he’s content taking part in art club after school.
“It’s really something,” he said. “You can express your art and feelings here.”
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976