Students set fundraiser to help pay for Italy trip

ARLINGTON — Chelsy Weekley has been doing some extra homework in preparation for her upcoming trip to Italy.

“I’m trying to learn Italian, and learn about the way they dress,” said Weekley, a 15-year-old Stillaguamish Valley School student. “They’re very passionate in how they speak. I’m looking forward it.”

Weekley will be one of about a dozen Arlington high-schoolers who will be touring Italy next spring. Students enrolled in Stillaguamish Valley — an Arlington School District program that supplements home-schooled students — and Arlington High School are slated to visit Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome and Pompeii during a 11-day excursion to the southern European country.

Currently, the students are raising funds to cover their trip, which takes place in March 2010. Students will be holding their final fundraiser — a craft fair/auction — from 7-9 p.m. on Nov. 20 at Eagle Creek Elementary School.

Items for sale include homemade candles, hand-knitted baby clothes, dish towels, bracelets and Christmas ornaments, said Chelsy Weekley’s mom, Darcy Weekley.

“One of the moms is even auctioning off horseback riding sessions,” Darcy Weekley said. “The auction is their final push.”

There is a $5 entrance fee for the auction, or $20 per family. Dessert and coffee will be served, and a short musical performance will take place.

Students have already put on a number of car washes and garage sales to raise money for their trip. The students have even sold Italian sodas and prepared lunch for other students during lunch time at Stillaguamish Valley.

“It’s a little bit stressful getting everything planned,” Chelsy Weekley said. “It’s fun that we’re earning money to go. Every time we do a fundraiser we learn something new about Italy.”

The trip is costing families of students nearly $3,000 each.

Linda Elves, a computer and technology teacher at Stillaguamish Valley, initially brought the idea up at the school, Darcy Weekley said.

Elves said she traveled to Italy in spring 2005 with Stillaguamish Valley School. The teacher will serve as this year’s tour guide for the students.

“I believe that experiencing is the best way to learn,” Elves said in an e-mail. “Our students will have the opportunity to experience many historical monuments and immerse themselves in the culture of Italy.”

Chelsy Weekley said she’s most looking forward to being serenaded during a gondola ride while the group is in Venice.

“I’m super excited and I can’t wait,” she said. “I’m counting every day. It’s just the opportunity of a lifetime. Everybody doesn’t get to go to Italy.”

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