Lincoln Middle School students will travel to nation’s capital, NY, and Philadelphia

Members of the Teacher Planning Team for the upcoming Lincoln Middle School East Coast Trip are excited about the learning opportunity 50+ students will have on the six-day trip in June. They are thankful for the support of families and the community to make it a reality for them.   (Starting at the bottom left and going counterclockwise) Casey Kerns, Jack Zentner, Aura Jocis, Halli Roussell, Lilly Bellizzi and Alex Bellizzi. 

March 17 - For years Lincoln Middle School traditionally takes students on a six-day East Coast trip to visit cities and locations they studied in their U.S. History and civics classes. This year’s trip is June 19-24.

Planning the trip is a 14-month-long process. Last April, approximately 150 interested parents and students attended an information meeting about the June 2023 trip. Following the meeting, 65 students signed up to go and paid a deposit to World Strides, a travel company that specializes in large group tours for students. The final numbers are not in yet, but it appears about 54 students will go. 

This year’s itinerary includes visits to Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.  Six teachers, two educational assistants and a number of parents or guardians are excited about joining the students on this much anticipated trip. The ratio for student supervision will be one chaperone for every nine students.

Casey Kerns and Alex Bellizzi, two of the three U.S. History teachers at LMS, are making the trip with their students. Kerns said she and Bellizzi are excited to take students to see a lot of the sites discussed in their classrooms.

“On this trip we get to visit Independence Hall where the Constitution was drafted over a hot and humid Philadelphia summer,” Kerns said. “When we teach it, we attempt to turn our classrooms into Independence Hall as we talk about the compromises that were made during that time. It will be fun to see students react to the actual building and discuss the history that took place there.”

Kerns and Bellizzi also teach an 8th grade civics unit that covers the levels and divisions of government. Kerns said seeing where the United States Government operates will help bring that knowledge to life for students. 

Three very full days in the nation’s capital include visiting the National Mall’s Smithsonian museums and war memorials. Trip organizers applied for tickets to the Holocaust Museum, Arlington National Cemetery and George Washington’s Mount Vernon home. The visit to New York will include seeing a Broadway play.

Cousins Mirabelle Hume and Leland “Lee” Whiterock are both 14-year-olds and have worked all year to raise the money to make the trip. Both love history and are excited about actually seeing places they have only heard of.

“History was one of my favorite classes,” Whiterock said. “I want to go on this trip because it’s an opportunity to see some really cool places that I might not get to see otherwise.”

Hume says she enjoys learning about any kind of history, experiencing different cultures and seeing national landmarks.

“I believe that traveling is crucial to fully be able understand culture and the rest of the world,” she said. “You get a sense of how behaviors can change in different regions. The history of the United States is particularly interesting to me because you can see how events that happened hundreds of years ago still affect us today.”

When asked what they hope to do on the trip, Whiterock said he wants to “take pictures, create some memories, see historical places, laugh and see something outside of Oregon.”

For Hume, it’s all about the Great White Way. “I'm very excited about going to watch a Broadway show!” I'm really crossing my fingers and hoping to see the musical, Hadestown.”

Aura Jocis has been a South Lane School District teacher for 16 years. She organized past LMS trips then took a break and is joining the trip this year to mentor other teachers to be her successors.

Jocis said the partnership with the WorldStrides student tour company makes the logistics and safety of the getting the large group from place to place much less stressful for the LMS trip coordinators and chaperones. She noted the company offers more than a dozen trips: history trips, science trips, and even one to the Florida Keys. She said this tour was chosen because D.C. is always a favorite and we had never added Philadelphia before.

“WorldStrides handles almost every detail that you can imagine,” Jocis said. “They are highly organized. They make it extremely safe for the students and as easy as possible for the chaperones. We have an air-conditioned coach the whole trip and the same guide/educator who always knows exactly how to keep the students engaged. They have really perfected this process.” 

The cost of the trip is $2,975 per person. Kerns said to help reach that goal, students participated in many school-organized fundraisers that began last April. They’ve sold Butter Braid pastries and See’s Candy. Students also organized and held two formal dances. 

Last fall, they worked at the University of Oregon’s Moshofsky Center setting up and cleaning up for a Duck football home game. They held an 8th and 9th grade dodgeball tournament, and they recently held a community banquet and auction. Some students worked summer jobs, held car washes, and did anything they could do to earn money.

“We are grateful for all the community support we’ve received,” Kerns said. “We earned about $4,000 collecting cans and bottles through BottleDrop’s Give blue bag program.”

The deadline to have final payments to the tour company is April 1; so, March is the final push to ensure every student who has participated in the fundraisers and earned money on their own can go on the trip. Additional contributions from the community would be much appreciated to ensure no student has to drop out.

To make a cash donation contact Casey Kerns at (541)942-3316 or by email:
[email protected]

Jocis added,This trip is something the students have worked incredibly hard to earn. I think that when they have spent over a year fundraising and working to go, it means even more when they get to board the plane. It is a significant achievement!”

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