12 students at Village High making Washington trip with lots of help

Donations, pizza and a limo ride send them on their way

The school has been doing this trip for years, but the 12 students from Pleasanton's Village High School who left for Washington D.C. last week traveled in style, courtesy of some local businesses.

Ann Crawford, who teaches history and civics at Village, said she gave the kids who wanted to go the same kind of letter she's been sending out for years.

"The cost of the trip is $1,788," Crawford said. "I send out a letter to the community, I tell (the students) to give it to their parents' place of work."

This year, though, things started to snowball when Christian Ghera gave the letter to his mom, Jennifer, who works at the Pleasanton Hilton Hotel. General Manager Kevin Goble contributed $300, and then asked Crawford how they get to the airport.

"When you're dealing with students," she told him, "you have problems that take place."

Crawford explained that in the past she's had a student with a flat tire, kids who went to the wrong airport or to arrivals instead of departures, and that during one recent year, a student misplaced his shoes at the hotel in Washington and they missed their flight home.

"(Goble's) laughing and he says, 'How about if I call Bill (Wheeler) at Black Tie Limo?'" she said. "I was flabbergasted."

Goble then took his offer a step further, offering to have the students arrive an hour early for pizza -- a little extra incentive to get the kids there on time.

"It was an act of supreme generosity," Crawford said.

So Black Tie Limo took them to the airport Friday morning and is picking them up Saturday (barring another misplaced shoe incident), and the class is going with "class."

"It was pretty fun," said 17-year-old Jordon Goodman, a senior at Village. "It was like a party bus. Everyone was pretty tired but was excited to go on the trip."

While at the nation's capital, they're getting a crash course in government. They're touring Capitol Hill courtesy of the office of Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton), visiting Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Holocaust Museum.

They'll also see the Supreme Court, which could issue a decision in a California case that could affect them. In that case, video game manufacturers are taking on a law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that banned the sale of violent video games to minors.

The students will also stay overnight in Colonial Williamsburg and see all the major monuments and attend workshops.

"We're in a group of like 25 kids," Goodman said. "We have discussions about our current government and learn as much as we can. It's more specific, like what's going on the in the news right now."

They'll also get a chance to meet students from other schools in other states, with each of them sharing a room with two other students. This year, students from Alaska, Michigan, Texas, Louisiana and Utah are participating, along with a school from Puerto Rico.

In the past, Crawford said that's made for interesting interactions as Village students, some with piercings, tattoos and unusual hair colors, meet up with their more staid counterparts from other places in the country. She said that's one of the goals of Close Up, the organization that puts these trips together.

Crawford said she has accompanied students for the last few years and hopes they get as much out of it as she does.

"I just have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the trip, and if I can pass that along to the kids, that's great," she said.

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Like this comment
Posted by Diane
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 30, 2010 at 8:35 am

I love reading stores like this. Congratulations to Black Tie for stepping up and getting these students where they need to be in time for a wonderful trip. I can't wait to read in the weekly just how much fun these kids had. A trip of a lifetime for most.

Like this comment
Posted by Various
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

What a wonderful story. Thanks to Black Tie for stepping up and helping these kids. It is great to know that there are business out there that still show an interest in their surrounding community.

Like this comment
Posted by Lugnut
a resident of Las Positas Garden Homes
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Black Tie,but more importantly the GMof Pleasanton Hilton rocks for calling Black Tie. Theyare both great!!!! And so are these kids.....

Like this comment
Posted by Anony
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

Cheers for Ms. Crawford and her dedication to the children of Village HS, these are intelligent students who thrive in a smaller learning setting, who have an opportunity to study history outside of a community that often applies a stigma as to the type of student that attends this incredible High School.

Thank you Hilton Hotel and Black Tie Limo Service!! You Rock!

Like this comment
Posted by T
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:04 am

I truly enjoy hearing postive stories about VILLAGE high school, they have an incredible staff and really care about the kids that need extra love. Thank you Hilton Hotel and Black Tie Limo for seeing the needs of this teacher and her students.... what a delightful gift you provided, now every parent knows that his or her child is safe going to and coming from the airport... you took a burden away... what a thoughtful gift.

Like this comment
Posted by Maria
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:04 am

What a wonderful story, this is nice to see.

Like this comment
Posted by Becky
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:33 am

My son is on that trip. He texted yesterday and said they are having an amazing experience. Ann Crawford is an incredible teacher who loves history, civics, and her students! The Hilton staff was generous and gracious, and the kids were thrilled to be treated to a limo ride to the airport.

Like this comment
Posted by Becky
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

By the way, I'm happy to see so many positive comments about Village High. It really is an incredible school with an amazing staff of teachers and administrators. What a gift to have a school like Village in our community!

Like this comment
Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:23 am

Congratulations to Ann Crawford and her colleagues at Village for finding a way to make an expensive and yet incredibly valuable learning experience possible.

And great thanks to the Pleasanton Hilton and Black Tie Limo for helping get the kids to the airport on time! I'd love to see a list of other companies that donated to help cover other expenses for the kids -- it'd be great to support local business owners who invest in educational causes.

Like this comment
Posted by tmc
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm

My daughter, now a straight A student thanks to the great teachers at Village High School, is on this trip, she is having the most incredible time learning about our nation's history. She has been contemplating becoming a teacher and we have gone over the ups and downs of the profession, her enthusiasm to teach kids has been a reinspired growth in her life due to the wonderful teachers she has now like Anne Crawford. Sadly she did not get this at AVHS, the community is too large. Having come from 10 years in Catholic School and focused teachers the larger community was not has inspriational to her. VHS has been a wonderful avenue for my oldest child to discover her growth, potential and her future as she plans out her college courses for the next year in her life.

Thank You Village High School, this has been an awesome opportunity for my kid! She will make a difference in someone else's life one day because she was given the opportunity for a proper beginning in her life that began with her education and her teachers!

Like this comment
Posted by Virginia
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I'm not sure what the story is that I am supposed to read, so I can't comment as yet. I'm hoping that by hitting 'submit' it will bring it up.

Like this comment
Posted by Virginia
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm

This is a wonderful opportunity for these students. Its inspiring to see them step out and get a taste of the bigger picture. Thank you to Black Tie for being there. I will always call you for my limo needs. You Rock!

Like this comment
Posted by Debbie
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

My daughter went on the Close-Up trip as a Sophomore at Village High School, and she had the trip of her life. It sparked her interest in speech and debate, and she went on to join the debate team and win awards in journalism. It's thanks to teachers at Village like Ann Crawford who make those kinds of activities possible for these extremely talented and gifted kids.

Like this comment
Posted by Glenn Wohltmann
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2010 at 6:04 pm


If you see this, email me at

I need pictures!

Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Hosterman
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

This is what our wonderful community is all about! I hope I get invited to hear from your class on their return.

Yours in service,


Like this comment
Posted by Sasha
a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:13 pm

This is an absolutely wonderful story!
Black Tie Is a Blessing!

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