BESIC students are headed to Lincoln’s birthplace
Tom Mundinger is taking 42 of his fifth graders on a “once in a lifetime” field trip this weekend.
In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday this year, a group from the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center will be taking an over-night trip to Springfield, Ill. A 56-passenger charter bus will be full of students, staff and parents, but it will also be followed by several families when the caravan leaves Baldwin City Friday morning.
“I think it’s going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for a lot of the kids,” said Mundinger, BESIC principal. “I’m guessing very few, if any, have ever been to Springfield. I think it’s a great opportunity to tie in their learning to something real. I think it’s going to be pretty neat and hopefully more meaningful than a normal field trip.”
The BESIC group will be staying at Illinois College, located in Jacksonville, Ill., on Friday night. The college is about 30 miles west of Springfield. Mundinger’s uncle is a former president of the college and he arranged for the group to sleep over for the night.
Money issues also worked themselves out for the students. The original price for the trip was thought to be around $200 per person. After the lodging was changed from a motel to the college, the price began decreasing.
“The lower the cost got, the number of kids wanting to go went up,” Mundinger said. “The more that went, the cheaper the trip got. We finally got it down to $50 a student.”
In the end, for $50, each student’s expenses are fully paid. That includes transportation and meals.
“They won’t have to bring another penny, unless they want to buy a souvenir or something,” Mundinger said.
In March, Mundinger presented his field-trip plan to the Baldwin School Board and it was approved unanimously that night. The trip won’t cost the district anything.
Since that approval, Mundinger and other staff members at BESIC have been planning the trip. Donations from individuals and the parent-teacher organization came in to help cover the cost for some students who wanted to make the trip.
“Everybody has been wonderful and supportive of the entire trip,” Mundinger said. “Everything has fallen into place, especially the money piece.”
At 8:30 a.m., the bus will leave BESIC and head to Springfield. That afternoon, the group will visit Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Lincoln tomb and the surrounding area.
On Saturday, they will visit the Old State Capitol and the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office, Lincoln Depot, Lincoln Presidential Museum and Lincoln Home Site and Visitor Center. Then they will eat dinner and head back to Baldwin City, arriving around midnight.
“We’re excited about the trip,” Mundinger said. “The kids have been learning so much about Lincoln and they are already pretty well-versed in Lincoln. To be able to see some of the places he once lived will be so much more real for them.”
As for the 28 BESIC fifth graders who aren’t heading to Springfield, they will be taking a field trip to Topeka to visit the Lincoln exhibit in the Kansas History Museum on Friday.
During the year, the BESIC students and staff have been celebrating and learning about Lincoln. On Feb. 12, his birthday, the staff wore Lincoln t-shirts. The students have also done presentations about the 16th U.S. President.
The idea for the trip came about in January. At first it was just a far-out idea, but it will become a reality on Friday.
“It was just kind of a dream,” Mundinger said. “There is a lot of Lincoln stuff in Springfield. One thing kind of led to another and we played with the idea. It just kind of grew and we decided we might be able to work this out.”