To the uninitiated, it might sound like another typical church fundraiser, but to the fifth-grade students at 10th Street Elementary School, it’s so much more. It’s the chance to discover passions they may have never known they had.
For the past three years, the students at 10th Street have traveled to Washington, D.C., and for each of those years Anniston’s First Presbyterian Church has helped them raise upward of $1,500 for the trip. The church and the school have a partnership dating back more than two decades, but two years ago the congregation chose to take a more active role in their neighbor’s education.
“The year before we started the fundraiser, the fifth-grade class had made its first trip to Washington, D.C., but we learned that not all the students were able to go because of the cost of the trip,” said First Presbyterian pastor David Rice. “It was in that realization that the barbecue fundraiser was born.
“We have had tremendously generous responses from the Anniston community these past years and expect a very successful event this year.”
The third annual barbecue fundraiser is today from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the church on Henry Road in Anniston. Much of the food is donated and many baked goods are being prepared for sale. Thirty students are visiting D.C. from May 14-18, and the cost is $521 per child.
It’s become something of a rite of passage for many of the students as sixth-graders pass on their stories of Washington to upcoming fifth graders, whose excitement continues to build all the way up until the May trip. Those same students often return to First Presbyterian to share their stories and offer thanks for helping them make the journey. And in the weeks before going to Washington, students study the nation’s capital and prepare for some of the sights they will see.
“They speak of the wonders of the capital, especially its beauty at night when the monuments and major buildings are lit up,” Rice said. “The students come back with a surprisingly articulate understanding of ways in which our government works. We have heard that many compliments are given on the students’ rapt attention and on their outstanding behavior.”
And it’s not the students alone who benefit from the relationship between church and school.
“A special treat for our congregation is when members of the class share their musical talents with us as part of their thanks,” Rice said.
“The congregation and community can know that by helping our local school we are telling the young people and their families that we care about them and want them to succeed in their education,” Rice says. “Historically, the Presbyterian Church has been known for its emphasis on education and developing the life of the mind. First Presbyterian’s involvement with 10th Street is a tangible extension of the church’s core mission and ministry to both mind and heart.”
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Fundraiser to send fifth graders at 10th Street Elementary School to Washington, D.C.
When: Today, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Anniston, 1701 Henry Road, Anniston (next to 10th Street Elementary School)
Cost: $8 per plate