Bronwyn Alexander’s second grade class at Belle Haven Community School in Menlo Park wrapped up the school year in a big way. The last week of school the class took the field trip of a lifetime to see the Giants play the Toronto Blue Jays at AT&T Park. For most of the kids, as well as the parent chaperons, it was their first trip to a major league game.
But, like seasoned Peninsula Giants fans, they knew that Caltrain was the way to get to the game. In fact, they went “multi-modal”, taking SamTrans Route 281 from the school to the Palo Alto Caltrain Station. The bus got them to the station in plenty of time to catch the train. The group was easy to spot on the train platform – 25 kids and 13 adults dressed in black and orange.
A trip to a Giants game is a popular end-of-the-year activity for many classes on the Peninsula. Alexander’s class took it up a notch by raising all the money for the trip. It took almost the entire school year to earn the $900 they needed to buy the tickets and pay for transportation.
Alexander uses the field trip as a lesson in cooperation and goal setting. “Not every class is ready to take a trip like this,” said Alexander. “The tickets go on sale in January so I have to decide then if I can take them.” This class made the cut. For the rest of the year, the class pushed to raise the money for the trip. Student Courtney Hill said, “We all worked together. Lots of people were bringing in dollars and coins and that helped.”
Since they are the Belle Haven Tigers, the class used a Tiger bank instead of a traditional piggy bank to collect loose change. Everyone was encouraged to contribute what Alexander called “couch-cushion money.” The class came in second place in the school‘s canned food drive and used the prize money for their field trip. When the class won a pizza party, they passed on the pizza and donated the cash to the field trip fund. In the spring, the students planted a vegetable garden, tended the vegetables and set up a vegetable stand at the school.
Mikey Torres said that keeping track of how much they saved helped him improve his math skills.
As the year went on, class statistician Adrian Rios helped bring everyone up to speed on the team. Even though he had never seen a game in person, Rios follows the team on TV. Rios spoke for the class when he called the experience “awesome.”
On the big day, the class found themselves at the highly-anticipated game. After stuffing themselves on popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, garlic fries and churros, they took the Giants Special home, many of them in a coveted upper level seat in the gallery car.
Nayeli Torres said that even though they were disappointed that their team didn’t win, “At least we were there to support them.” Her classmate Jessica Cornejo Casildo summed it up when she said, “It was a great trip. I would like to go again.”
To top it off, the trip fell on Alexander’s birthday. “What a way to celebrate,” she said.
To make field trips like the one Ms. Alexander’s class took easier, Caltrain and SamTrans’ offer a group ticket sales program. Groups of more than 25 people can purchase tickets in advance at a 10 percent discount. To help the trip go smoothly, the SamTrans bus driver and the Caltrain conductor are notified to expect the group. In May, 38 groups with a total of 1,652 riders took advantage of Caltrain’s group ticket sales program.
– Christine Dunn, 650.508.6238