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6th grader: Can we rethink field trip ban?

As a sixth grader in the Carroll County public school system, I was disappointed to hear about the decision of the Carroll County Board of Education to discontinue field trips to Baltimore (“Parent reactions to halt of Baltimore field trips mixed,” Nov. 28). I began attending school in the county in fourth grade, transferring from a culturally diverse magnet school in Baltimore. It was at this school where I experienced a great deal of fun and meaningful learning while on field trips to the city including a visit to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, along with many other amazing places.

Just last year, while in Carroll County, I visited The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Both experiences very much enriched me and my classmates both culturally and academically. Even as a small second grader, I had the wonderful experience of viewing an amazing show in the front rows of the famous BSO, something that that I wouldn’t have ever experienced if not for that field trip. As soon as the conductor asked us what song the orchestra was playing, I remember being the first one to shout out that the song they were playing was “Frosty the Snowman.”

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Going to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was an amazing opportunity, one that pushed me into the world of orchestra. When my instrumental teacher said that we could choose any instrument to play, I instinctively thought back to the day I went to the BSO. As a fourth and fifth grader I played the viola. When I entered sixth grade, my instrumental teacher asked me to try the bass. At first apprehensive, I thought back to the bass players standing on the huge stage in front of me at the BSO. To this day, I still enjoy being challenged to work harder than ever before and to play the bass to my best ability. I fear that the school board has now taken away the chance for me to explore more cultural and historical institutions in Baltimore.

I lived in Baltimore for nine years. My mother and her mother and her mother before her grew up there. When walking in the Inner Harbor or visiting my parents’ friends in many neighborhoods, I never felt unsafe or like a stranger would hurt me. I also really worry that many of my friends and classmates will never see the museums and attractions that I have, believing instead the small portion of the city they see on the news. I feel like great examples of culture and educational enrichment have been taken from the students of Carroll County, things only shown in museums and art galleries, things you see by traveling to many new and different places. In the state of Maryland, a great deal of our most prominent educational and cultural enrichment opportunities reside in Baltimore including Fort McHenry, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the American Visionary Art Museum, the B&O Railroad Museum, the Maryland Science Center, Top of the World at Baltimore’s World Trade Center and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. And that’s just a few.

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Even though board members may think they are doing what is best for the students of Carroll County, I urge everyone to think about how this decision could affect us, your children. Even though I have already had the benefit of being able to see many of the wonderful sights of Baltimore, I fear kindergartners and other younger students may not get a chance to see Baltimore for what it is, a beautiful city, with many, many sources of cultural and educational enrichment, along with many interesting people and stories. I hope that the Board of Education hears my plea to rethink this decision, as it runs the risk of negatively affecting the students of Carroll County in a way involving two very important aspects of our lives: culture and education.

Grace Crovo, Eldersburg

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