CHS art students back from trip of a lifetime
Crookston Times Nov. 15, 2010
Crookston High School art students and their chaperones, including their instructor Gary Stegman in front, pose before the backdrop of Chicago lights.
A group of 25 Crookston High School art students and their chaperones returned last week from a five-day trip of a lifetime to Chicago, where they attended plays such as "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Lion King," visited art galleries and took in the sights of the city. Students paid for the trip themselves and also got to experience riding on a train there and back.
Stegman: Art trip to Chicago could change lives
By Mike Christopherson, Managing Editor
Posted Sep 29, 2010 @ 12:00 PM
Crookston —On one level, it's a field trip to Chicago that focuses on art and culture. But there are many other levels to the upcoming trip that 18 Crookston High School students will embark on in early November, CHS art teacher Gary Stegman told the Crookston School Board, which put its official stamp of approval on the trip this week.
"I can't emphasize the benefits of this trip enough," he said. "They're going to ride public transportation in a big metro area, they're going to walk about five miles a day, they're going to eat real Chicago deep-dish pizza, they're going to meet homeless people, they're going to learn compassion and, of course, learn about art history and culture."
CHS students in recent years have taken an art-themed trip every other year, usually to the Twin Cities. The last time the group went to Chicago was four years ago, Stegman said, and he knew soon after that successful trip that students needed to return. The trip itinerary for this year's four day/five night trip from Nov. 2-6 looks very similar to the itinerary from four years ago, he explained, including the Amtrak train transportation, and a visit to a major museum every afternoon, sandwiched by various activities in the mornings and afternoons. Even most of the chaperones going along this time took the Chicago trip four years ago, Stegman said.
Eight students, mostly seniors with some juniors and sophomores sprinkled in, are going on the trip, which costs each of them around $700. They've done all of the fund-raising themselves, Stegman said, so the trip isn't costing the school district any money.
"I promise the parents every time we take this art trip that their kids will come back changed," he said. "They don't just learn about art and culture, they learn compassion."
The students will write journals during the trip and author papers when they return, Stegman added.
The art trip tradition has boosted the CHS art program itself, he contends, adding that more CHS art students advance to state art competition now than they did before the trips began. They're also being awarded significant college art scholarships, Stegman added.
Asked by board member Robin Brekken about safety and liability issues, Stegman assured board members that safeguards are built into the trip, and they basically come down to "what do you do if something happens." Students travel in groups, he said, and have access to cell phones. "There's a chain of command, where everyone is watching somebody," Stegman explained. "We want these people to see that life is different elsewhere, and that life is pretty good right where they are now."