Travelers for an upcoming trip to Europe pose for a photo Friday at Moffat County High School. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, the school is hosting a craft show to raise money for the 10-day trip to France and Spain, which departs in March. Pictured, from left, are junior April Rogers, junior Kirstie McPherson, sophomore Faith Santistevan and teacher Jeff Simon. April Etheridge is not pictured.

Photo by Ben McCanna

Travelers for an upcoming trip to Europe pose for a photo Friday at Moffat County High School. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, the school is hosting a craft show to raise money for the 10-day trip to France and Spain, which departs in March. Pictured, from left, are junior April Rogers, junior Kirstie McPherson, sophomore Faith Santistevan and teacher Jeff Simon. April Etheridge is not pictured.

MCHS students hosting craft show to raise money for trip to Europe

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If you go

What: Craft show fundraiser for MCHS trip to Europe

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Doors open for vendors at 7 a.m.

Where: Moffat County High School commons area, 900 Finley Lane

—For more information, call Jeff Simon at 826-6596

Jeff Simon, a Moffat County High School social studies teacher, said his participation in class trips to Europe came as a surprise.

“They called me out of the blue,” Simon said. “I just came to work one day and my principal said, ‘By the way, you need to go to Spain with the Spanish class so they can have another chaperone there.’”

Simon said response was concise.

“Awesome,” he said.

That first trip was in 2005 to Madrid. Simon made a second trip in 2009 to London and Paris.

In March, Simon will accompany four students on a 10-day trip to Paris, Barcelona and Madrid.

“We’ll obviously see the Eiffel Tower, we’ll go to the Louvre. We’ll see all the major sights,” Simon said. “The last day, we’ll take an excursion to Segovia, Spain. That’s where Christopher Columbus was granted money to discover the new world.”

However, like Columbus, the students need financial help, too.

Today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., MCHS is hosting a craft show. Vendors will sell art, jewelry, scented candles, clothing, baked goods and more.

Proceeds from booth rentals and baked goods go toward helping students pay for essentials while abroad.

Simon said he hopes the fundraiser will become an annual event.

“We’re hoping we can do this year after year and provide scholarships so more kids can go,” he said.

Simon said 27 students expressed interest in going to Europe this spring. However, all but four students eventually withdrew their applications.

“They drop out (of the trip) because they don’t have enough money, or the timeframe is not right, or whatever is going on with their family,” Simon said. “So it’s not a matter of me or the school narrowing the list down, it’s more the kids narrowing themselves down.”

The 10-day trip costs $3,400, which includes transportation, hotels and tour guides, Simon said.

The idea for a craft show came from junior class president Kirstie McPherson, Simon said.

“She’s spearheading this whole thing,” Simon said. “She’s kind of in the craft world. She has gone to the last couple of craft shows and passed out fliers.

“She’s really brought people in.”

McPherson is one of the students who will travel to Europe this spring.

“I’m very excited. I’m beyond excited, actually,” McPherson said. “I’ve wanted to go to Europe, and I don’t think I’ll have another opportunity until I’m retired.”

McPherson, who designs and sells her own jewelry, said the craft show was an easy choice.

“Lots of people want to get their artwork out there, and I figured there would be a lot of demand for a craft show during the weekend right before Christmas,” she said. “So, I decided it would be a good idea for a fundraiser.”

McPherson said the school is providing booths at the craft show for $25 per vendor. Booth rentals have raised $500 as of Friday morning.

McPherson said it’s too late for those funds to pay for the trips, but the money will help the traveling students in other ways.

“The deadline for us to pay was December, and all of us have that paid up as of now,” McPherson said. “Because we spent all of our money trying to pay for the trip itself, this is giving us a little buffer, because you don’t want to go to Europe with no money. That would be kind of bad.

“What we’re going to do is split this so we’ll have a little bit more of a buffer to go to Europe.”

McPherson said she will be selling her own handmade jewelry at the show.

McPherson said she’s most excited about visiting Segovia.

“It’s my own version of a fairy tale,” she said.

Booth space for today’s craft show is still available. For more information, call Jeff Simon at 826-6596.

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