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Fiesta Night to benefit GEMS eighth-graders

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A group of eighth-graders from Glen Edwards Middle School made tissue paper flowers Tuesday morning for their upcoming Fiesta Night fundraiser. The fundraiser is to help raise money for travel expenses related to a trip to Washington D.C. and New York City this June, said Mary Laroche, parent of one of the students. Currently, 54 students signed up for the trip, which Laroche said costs $2,000 per student for motel, food, airfare, busing and a Broadway show ticket. The extracurricular trip is a “traditional thing the eighth-graders go on,” Laroche said. “We would love for it (fundraising) to be able to cover everything,” Laroche said. “In reality, it will help take a big sting out of it for the parents.” Tickets to Fiesta Night include two tacos, rice, beans, nachos, a dessert and drink, Laroche said. There will also be a bake sale, music and a dance troupe that will donate their time to perform. Event organizers are also looking for more entrants in a salsa-making contest that night. “We’re going to have a silent auction and we have all kinds of prizes, like rounds of golf, River Cats tickets and Sunsplash tickets,” Laroche said. “We have a lot of really great prizes we hope we’ll be able to make some money off of for the kids.” Grand prize for a raffle drawing during Fiesta Night is a trip for two to Disneyland for one week. The students must participate in fundraising efforts to receive funds, Laroche said. “They actually have to work at the fundraiser in order to get the money. They’ve been working really hard and they’ve been doing a lot of fundraising,” Laroche said. “They’ve been waitressing, selling raffle tickets. We’ve had community nights at Red Robin and Old Town Pizza, where they give a certain percentage of the sales for that night.” The students have also waitressed at Kim’s Country Kitchen and during community events such as the Police Activities League’s Lobsterfest this fall. Laroche said she hopes Fiesta Night “will be an annual event.” “I think it’s important for kids to see the world, to get out of their box and comfort zone and experience new places and see the history,” Laroche said. “They are going to a Broadway show, standing in front of the White House where the president is, seeing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It’s an amazing experience.” Jarod Markus-Brooks, 13, said he is looking forward to seeing the Lincoln Memorial. “I don’t know why but it seems like it would be my favorite place there,” Jarod said. Jarod said it will be fun to travel with his classmates. “I just want to go because I heard it was really fun,” Jarod said. Samantha Carillo, 14, said the trip ties into what eighth-graders are learning this year. “This year, we are in eighth-grade and learning about history and monuments in Washington D.C.,” Samantha said. “It would be neat to see them up close. I’m interested in the East Coast and a lot of us may not get that chance again.” Samantha said she’s looking forward to seeing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “I think it’s cool because it represents the soldiers who they don’t know the names of and they are honored,” Samantha said. The Lincoln News Messenger profiles a nonprofit organization every week. To see an organization featured, call 774-7967 or e-mail stephanied@goldcountry media.com.