West students fund-raise for D-Day trip

       It all started from a desire to learn. Now several of Connie Graven's students from West Middle School, past and present, will be spending their one-week spring break at the end of March in England and France.
       The students will be visiting many of the famous sites - the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower - but their main destination will be the Normandy beaches where Allied troops fought their way ashore on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
       The group will include nine students from last year's seventh-grade SAIL class (for gifted students) that studied the pivotal World War II battle over a four-month span, plus four past students of hers who wished they'd had the chance before, Graven said.
       The students had to fund-raise to pay for some of their travel costs (more than $2,000 a person). These included selling treats after school on Mondays and at home sports games. They also had a garage sale, washed cars, held a silent auction and put on a dance, Graven said.
       Allie Ives, part of last year's seventh-grade class, has been helping with the fund-raising. “I'm excited about it,” she said on a recent Monday while selling treats to students. “I'm counting every day.”
       Her mother, Jane Ives, who will be going as a chaperone, is also looking forward to the trip. “I've never been to Europe,” she said.
       Graven, whose father fought at D-Day, was pleased last year when her students asked to study the battle. “When they go to Normandy and learn about the different things and see the graveyards, they'll have even more of an understanding of what happened,” she said. “I think it will be a life-changing experience.”

Westside Pioneer article