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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Central Science Teacher Ann Gritzner would like to breeze into the Windy City with a couple of busloads of students but making that happen will take some help from members of the Elkader community.

Gritzner has received board approval to take science students to Chicago this spring. She hopes that 80 adult chaperones and students will be able to make the trip; 68 have already signed up.

“If we don’t get 80, we will have to limit the number to what will fit on one bus,” Gritzner explained. “That means that some students who want to go might not be able to make the trip.”

Since cost is a barrier mentioned by a handful of students, Gritzner has created a funding opportunity to allow community members to help with field trip expenses. She is seeking donations in any amount that can be used as “scholarships” for students in need.

“We’ll ask each student who wishes to receive a scholarship to pay what they are able to pay,” said Gritzner. “Some families have two children who would like to go (so costs can add up).”

The science trip to Chicago has been offered in odd-numbered years since 2009. This will be the fourth time that Central students and their chaperones have made the trip.

Gritzner said that Chicago was chosen as the destination for its reasonable driving distance and the quality of museums it offers. St. Louis was also offered as an option but the students ultimately decided on the Windy City.

The trip is not mandatory and nothing from the outing relates directly to the science curriculum. Still, Gritzner sees great value in opportunities like visiting Chicago’s famed museums and other attractions.

“The Field Museum has an awesome display of early animal skeletons and a nice display of ancient and current world cultures,” she noted. “And at the Museum of Science and Industry are opportunities for hands-on learning about the  human body, weather and energy as well as (a chance to see) a full-sized submarine and coal mine. It’s just a great opportunity for students to apply knowledge and see science and social students in action.”

The itinerary also includes stops at the Shedd Aquarium, one of the largest indoor marine mammal pavilions in the world; Willis Tower, North America’s tallest building; and Lincoln Park Zoo.

The intrinsic value of the trip cannot be underestimated either, Gritzner added.

“This trip gives students a chance to spend time with friends, see once in a lifetime attractions and possibly experience something that might spark a love of learning,” she added.

The cost of the trip is $230, and includes transportation, lodging, several meals and admission to several attractions.

Anyone interested in making a scholarship donation to help students in need make the trip can contact Gritzner.

“Many students in this district might not have another opportunity to visit some of the world-class attractions located right here in the Midwest,” Gritzner said. “I hope everyone who wants to make the trip can do so.”

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