By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Forty-one Crescent City students will learn a history lesson the best way one can by going to where it happened.

For 10 years, Crescent Elk teacher Jeff Johnson has been taking students to Washington, D.C. to drive home a years worth of American history lessons.

History, geography, and culture translate much better in person than through a textbook or video. Walking in the footsteps of presidents in the White House, or walking silently beside the dark reflection of the Vietnam Memorial makes a visible impact upon impressionable teens, Johnson said.

This year the group will go on June 17. But with a cost of $1,379, a lot of the parents are having trouble with the bill.

Were in a situation where some parents can come up with some of it, but have financial burdens. Some parents are just hoping to give their child this opportunity, but somehow get the price offset, said Kann Melvin, a parent helping to organize fund-raisers for children who cant fully afford the trip.

Melvins fund-raising group is called Crescent Elk DC Discovery and is made up of parents and students trying to help the 16 children with their trip costs.

In doing the fund raising we are teaching our children that they need to be responsible and work for what they want. In addition, we have several students who, because of circumstances out of their control, would not be able to participate in this historical exploration were it not for the fund raising, Melvin said.

So far, the group has put on a spaghetti dinner. The Elks Lodge provided the space. Melvin said a skate party and pancake breakfast are also in the works. The group is compiling recipes for a cookbook to go on sale, as well.

To help out the 16 students who still need funds, contact Melvin at 465-5021.

Johnson said he hopes the trip will provide students with a better understanding of their American heritage, both historically and culturally.

The theaters, museums, statues and public plazas, as well as the down side of urban life, such as homelessness and congestion, open a larger world for the kids. This forces them to think. In addition, many of our Del Norte kids havent spent much time in a large city, much less an eastern city, Johnson said.