Despite the cold and wet weather this morning, spirits were high among the 20 Eagle Rock Elementary School second-graders as their teacher led them onto the Chinatown Station platform. The kids had been studying Chinatown in the classroom and thanks to Metro’s Student Field Trip Program they now had the chance to explore the real thing instead of settling for books and photos.
The students were met by Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilman and Metro Board Member Jose Huizar, Metro CEO Art Leahy and Principal Jose Posada from Eagle Rock Elementary School, who had come out to celebrate the official start of the program. Mayor Villaraigosa had first proposed the program in 2010 and pushed for its realization.
“It’s a win-win situation,” says Mayor Villaraigosa. “We are going to partner with the schools and the students, with the Metro School Field Trip Program that will enable students in the Los Angeles County region to see historica sites and learn from different cultures that these sites offer, and do it for free while traveling on the Metro bus and rail system during off-peak hours.”
Councilman Huizar also showed his appreciation for the program, saying, “I want to thank Mayor Villaraigosa and Metro for their leadership in helping students from all over the Los Angeles region have the opportunity to explore the world outside their own worlds. Through field trips on Metro’s public transportation lines, these young people will discover the beauty of the Los Angeles region and all it has to offer in culture, science and the arts.”
The Student Field Trip Program allows students grade 1-12 from all public, private and parochial schools in Los Angeles County to travel free on Metro bus and rail during off-peak hours to 19 approved destinations, including the California Science Center, Campo de Cahuenga and LACMA. With the LA Unified School District facing increasingly severe budget cuts, funding for school field trips is all but gone as money for school buses has become extremely limited. Metro’s new program ensures students will still be able to visit a variety of cultural and learning centers to enhance their classroom curriculum.
An additional bonus: kids will be learning how to ride Metro buses and trains safely, increasing their chances of enjoying public transportation in the future.