LIVERMORE FALLS — RSU 73 directors voted 10-1 Thursday to give concept approval for Livermore Falls high school juniors and seniors to attend “The Lion King” in New York City next spring.
They also gave unanimous concept approval for a trip to Europe in April 2013 for all juniors and seniors in the district.
The Big Apple excursion will be the 16th annual humanities seminar the staff at Spruce Mountain High School's south campus has conducted.
Students at the north campus in Jay will not be invited, but Livermore Falls teachers Anne Weatherbee and Sue St. Pierre said they were more than willing to share their experience on organizing the trip with north campus teachers.
Board Chairman Denise Rodzen of Livermore Falls asked that the teachers relay that information to north campus staff.
The humanities seminar students will attend several after-school sessions, raise money for the trip and take an overnight trip to see the Broadway show.
“We would really like to see 'The Lion King,'” Weatherbee said.
It offers students something they may never get to see on their own, Rodzen said.
“Why is it not being offered to both campuses?” director Vicki McLeod of Jay asked.
Reasons mentioned were: Teachers at the Livermore Falls school have offered the program for years; Livermore Falls students and teachers will fill the chartered bus; there wouldn't be enough tickets for everyone to see the show on the same night; and keeping track of more students would be difficult.
“We're asking our children to join as one,” McLeod said, but they are still separated in this. She opposed the vote.
“We are two separate campuses,” St. Pierre said. It would be very difficult to assume responsibility for kids she didn't know, she said.
She said she is working with Maria Rier of the Jay campus on a trip to Europe for students from both campuses, or one if a school is closed, in 2013.
The New York trip started 16 years ago when some teachers from Livermore Falls High School saw a show on Broadway and talked about it all the way home, St. Pierre said.
“We wanted to share the experience with kids,” she said.
There is no grade credit given for the trip, just a joy of learning, she said.
The only cost to the district, St. Pierre said, is two days of substitutes.
Those taking the trip raise the money to pay for it. She estimated a chartered bus will cost between $3,500 and $3,800. The bus would leave Thursday morning and arrive in New York City about 2:30 p.m. The group return home immediately after the show, arriving in Livermore Falls early the next morning.
Discussion included trying to take two buses to allow north campus students to go, or taking half the students from each campus on one trip and the rest on another trip.
St. Pierre said taking about 48 students affects the school. Doing that twice would affect it twice, she said.
The board also gave concept approval for the trip to England and France in April 2013.
St. Pierre said she has organized a student trip to Europe every two years since 2001.
She said she is working with the tour company to keep the cost at about $3,000 for the approximately 10-day excursion. No fundraising is done. The tour company offers students a payment plan, she said.