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March 21, 2014

D.C. trip available again for Oneonta sixth graders

By Mark Boshnack Staff writer
The Daily Star

---- — A tradition will continue to be offered for Oneonta City School District sixth graders this year and the Middle School PTO is holding a fundraiser on Sunday to help make it possible for all who want to attend. 

The district’s safety patrol was discontinued following a realignment that moved 6th graders to the middle school this year. So, school officials initially did not think the annual trip that had been offered to students for decades would be possible. But Oneonta Bus Lines, which organizes the trip, offered the district another option to participate in the four day, three night trip that starts May 11. It will allow students to join their peers from other schools who were still in safety patrol, if they are part of a service patrol, PTO co-president Wendy Loucks said. This will require participating students to perform six hours of community service, and meet conduct requirements, to participate. The cost is $385 and includes stops in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. The deadline for payment is April 8.

To provide assistance, from 10 am. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, the PTO will hold a fundraising Bowl-a-Thon at Holiday Lanes, Loucks said. The cost will be $10 for 6th graders and $20 for all others. Students can use the funds they raise for the event to pay for their trip. Any money the PTO raises, along with funds from a recent dance, after-school candy sales and other events will be used for scholarships. Loucks said the PTO will know how much it will have to assist students when it gets closer to the deadline. “The goal is to help as many kids as we can,” she said.

In addition, the organization is also helping find opportunities for students to perform their six hours of community service. This includes a downtown cleanup Saturday starting at 8:30 a.m. Students can’t do all their service at one time, and their parents can’t be the ones to provide the necessary sign-off, she said.

About 80 students had showed an interest in participating, Middle School Principal Kevin Johnson said. As the deadline gets closer he will have a better handle on how many will meet the conduct requirements that have always been a part of participating. But he said it was important to continue the tradition so students do not feel they have lost a privilege when they move to middle school. 

“I want students to feel positively about the experience,” he said. Giving them another opportunity to provide service to the community is always a good idea, he said.

Anyone wishing to provide service opportunities or make donations can contact the Middle School at 433-8262, or email Loucks at