WMS offered Valentine’s baby-sitting to help fund students’ trip to Florida

Brandon Schatsiek
Children whose parents dropped them off at WMS for baby-sitting were treated to a night of games, arts and crafts, a movie and snacks Saturday. All money raised from the event was to help seven WMS students going on a field trip to Florida this summer.

Baked goods and root beer float sales are all but a thing of the past for seven Washington Middle School students raising money for a trip to Florida this summer.

“It’s a science-based trip,” said sixth-grade science and reading teacher Jenn Carey. “They will swim with manatees, dissect a shark, go to beaches and just experience the ecosystem and habitat.”

Due to the costs of the trip, the parents, students and teachers found themselves trying to think of new fundraising methods instead of the traditional bake sale.

“I promised I would come up with ideas to get the kids there,” Carey said. “I didn’t want any kid not to be able to go due to money, so that’s pretty much why we are doing anything we can to get the kids to go.”

Carey, a handful of students and a few mothers found themselves baby-sitting Saturday night at Washington Middle School, giving parents a date night a couple of nights before Valentine’s Day.

“We’ve had a lot of people that said, ‘This is such a great idea, because it’s so hard to get a baby sitter on Valentine’s weekend and for the price offered it is really reasonable,’” Carey said. “And to offer the things we are doing with them too … the kids are excited to come and have an open gym.”

For $15 for the first child and $10 for each additional child, the students, Carey and a few volunteers played dodge ball, had an arts and crafts table and a movie with about 30 children from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

“Most of the parents are happy for their kids to have something to do so they can go out to a movie or even stay home and relax,” said Silvia Feeney, the mother of a student going on the field trip and a volunteer. 

Feeney said it was a collective effort coming up with the idea that will have the students going on the trip be as involved as possible.

“What we liked about it is the kids could be involved in helping watch the little kids and organizing it,” Feeney said. “I think that’s important, otherwise it’s just the parents raising money. This is something where they could do it for themselves — to take a leadership (role).”

Emily Jacobson, one of Carey’s sixth-grade students, said she is lobbying her mother to allow her to go on the trip.

“I want to go because I’ve never been to Florida or been on an airplane,” Jacobson said. “While we’re on the trip we’re going to be swimming with manatees and that’s pretty awesome.”

She said she wanted to help Saturday night because it will help bring the overall cost of the trip down for those who volunteered. But she did add that it’s much more difficult than a traditional bake sale. 

“This is a bit harder, because there are little kids and little kids are rowdy,” Jacobson said. 

Carey said she went on a similar trip to D.C. when she was in grade school and didn’t want any of her students to miss out on an opportunity like this.

“I still remember that (trip),” Carey said. “Being a teacher, I kind of wanted to extend that now to my students.”

Another fundraiser the group is doing is a garage sale at the school March 5. They are not only bringing their own things to sell, but renting spaces to community members wishing to sell their things as well. Carey said donations will be accepted and all proceeds will help benefit the students’ trip.

For more information on how to get involved for the March 5 garage sale, contact Jenn Carey at 444-3361 ext. 1429 or e-mail at d52jcare@d52schools.com.