Written by Beth Krutz, principal
Mrs. Cummings, art teacher, came running up to the 3rd floor office at Central Elementary to share the great news, "Mrs. Krutz," she said, "did you hear, we can go to Chicago again!" Her next question to principal Krutz was, "When can I begin planning our trip to the Art Institute?" "We just have to go!"
Planning for such a trip would take the effort of many including: Mrs. Cummings, Mrs. Krutz, teachers and even the Central Elementary PTO. Transportation proved to be the biggest obstacle. All Valparaiso school busses needed to return to town by 2:00 p.m.! This would not be enough time for students to explore the museum and take in the Chicago scenery. After a fair amount of research, it was decided that students could take the South Shore Train into the city. The trip was booked in a few short weeks.
The next concern was cost. Fortunately, the PTO has a unique fundraiser for the Arts called Central Perk. This fair trade, monthly fundraiser, offers goods such as coffee, tea, chocolate bars, and hot chocolate. It originated four years ago and is lead by its founder PTO parent, Lia Rohde. Each year Central Perk raises over $1,000.00 that is earmarked to the Music and Art on alternating years. In the past the funds have been used for a trip to the symphony, a new kiln, and an assembly from Mr. Brown's Music Bus. This year the funds would help send fourth and fifth grade students to the Art Institute as well as bring in a professional artist to work with the students.
Mrs. Cumming and the teachers prepared the students for the trip by exposing them to a variety of art that they would see at the museum. Finally, the big day arrived. The students, staff, and chaperones safely arrived in Chicago and entered the doors of the museum. It was wonderful to hear the excitement in the students' voices when they found a piece of Art they had learned about at school. They were able to draw a picture of their favorite piece and explain why it was important to them. For many of the students, this was a trip full of ‘firsts' - 1st train ride, 1st time at the Art Institute, 1st time to see Millennium Park, and 1st trip to Chicago! After touring the museum for over two hours, the students enjoyed a walk through Chicago's Millennium Park on the way back to the train station. They were amazed by the Cloud Gate, aka The Bean and the gorgeous landscape that Chicago has to offer.
The trip was like to dream come true for all Central Elementary fourth and fifth graders, staff, and others involved in the planning. Due to the overwhelming success of the trip, it has become the first of a new tradition for the students of Central Elementary.
Central Perk orders are welcome, please visit: http://www.valpo.k12.in.us/cnel/site/default.asp for ordering information.