It was a once in a lifetime trip for some McLaughlin Middle School & Fine Arts Academy students! Earlier this month, a lucky group of 38 middle school students from Lake Wales boarded a bus for a trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City. This was also a memorable benchmark for the school. It is the first field trip of its kind ever hosted by McLaughlin Middle School & Fine Arts Academy.
The sixth, seventh and eighth grade students signed up for the trip in October and deposited $100 toward the trip. Thanks to help from the Fine Arts Parent Organization, students raised much of the $750 cost for the trip by selling cookies, teddy grams, mixed-bags and roses. They even held car washes, dances, and an out of uniform day.
McLaughlin Middle School and Fine Arts Academy is a Title I school. 87 percent of students receive free and reduced lunches. For many of the parents and caregivers of the students, even the $100 was a sacrifice. “For many who took the trip, this may be the only time they get to go on a trip like this. I know how very special the trip was for many of the students” says Fine Arts Resource Specialist Madalyn Walton.
Some of the trip highlights included visits to Washington, D.C. landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the Washington Monument. In the Big Apple the kids attended Broadway shows, an adaption of Swan Lake at Lincoln Center and went to such historic places as the Museum of Modern Art.
But this wasn’t just a sightseeing trip. As part of the tour, students were given lessons on map reading, Art History and American History. In Washington, D.C. particular attention was given to landmarks and monuments. In New York City, lessons revolved around theatre and the ballet. To remember the experience, each student was encouraged to keep personal journals and regularly work on an official journal team charged with the trip journal. The goal of the hands-on project was to improve writing skills while finding a unique way to enrich instructional learning.
McLaughlin Middle School and Fine Arts Academy is an arts focused middle school that serves students in the Lake Wales area. In 2011, the Fine Arts department earned the prestigious “Arts Achieve!” Model School honor resulting from exemplary arts programs, outstanding talent, and strong community connections for the years of 2011-2014.