Belle Heth Elementary seeks help for Jamestown field trip

From left, Josh Smith of Ameriprise Financial presents teacher Kelly Rowland and Principal Lynn Jacomen with a $200 donation towards the Belle Heth Elementary School’s fourth-grade field trip to Jamestown on April 7-8. Those interested in donating to the Jamestown field trip may mail checks, payable Belle Heth Elementary School with “Jamestown field trip” written in the memo, to: Belle Heth E.S., 151 George St., Radford, VA 24141. For more information, call the school at 731-3653. (Photo by Sam Wall)
From left, Josh Smith of Ameriprise Financial presents teacher Kelly Rowland and Principal Lynn Jacomen with a $200 donation towards the Belle Heth Elementary School’s fourth-grade field trip to Jamestown on April 7-8. Those interested in donating to the Jamestown field trip may mail checks, payable Belle Heth Elementary School with “Jamestown field trip” written in the memo, to: Belle Heth E.S., 151 George St., Radford, VA 24141. For more information, call the school at 731-3653. (Photo by Sam Wall)

RADFORD — The fourth-grade students at Belle Heth Elementary have been excited about their overnight field trip to Jamestown, but the school still needs some additional funding for the trip.

Scheduled April 7-8, the trip has been in the works since the fall, but the school is approximately $3,000 short of the $21,000 needed for the trip. Each student is paying $150 in three $50 installments, the last of which is due this week.

Not every student is able to pay the full amount required for the trip, said Kelly Rowland, a fourth-grade teacher at Belle Heth. Donations by the Parent School Association (PSA) and a few parents have helped, but some of the students still need funding.

Rowland said that in addition to the initial cost of the trip, another $1,000 is needed to pay for T-shirts for the 125 students on the trip.

The shirts will be the same design but different colors for each class so that teachers and other chaperones can easily identify the kids on the trip. Asking students for more money after already having to pay for the trip is something the school is trying to avoid, said Rowland.

“School budgets have been cut so much these days that we have no extra money at all,” said Lynn Jacomen, the principal at Belle Heth. “We are having to rely on our community and business partners to really step up and donate some money. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to have any extracurricular enrichment opportunities for our students.”

One of those business partners, Ameriprise Financial, decided to help with a $200 donation. Ameriprise advisor Keith Weltens has two daughters going on the trip and decided to help out when he heard the trip still wasn’t completely funded.

Josh Smith, who presented the check to the school Thursday on behalf of Ameriprise, said that the goal was to help “trigger other businesses and organizations to step up and donate.”

Jacomen said that other schools in surrounding counties have overnight field trips, a tradition that she would like to start in Radford.

“A lot of these kids have never been somewhere overnight, so this is a big deal for the community,” added Jacomen.

Rowland said that every child will have the chance to go on the trip, regardless of whether the student has paid the full amount or not.

“We are going to make it work,” Rowland said. “We’re not going to turn anyone away.”

How to help

Those interested in donating to the Jamestown field trip may mail checks, payable Belle Heth Elementary School with “Jamestown field trip” written in the memo, to: Belle Heth E.S., 151 George St., Radford, VA 24141. For more information, call the school at 731-3653.

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