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Watts Schoolchildren to Get Trip to Circus

Central Los Angeles

April 23, 1997

Most of the children in the special education program at Markham Middle School in Watts have never seen a tiger or an elephant. Most of them have never been to the circus. Many of them have never even left Watts.

But on Thursday, 75 of those students will get a chance to see some of those animals at the Shrine Auditorium courtesy of the Shriners, who will provide the tickets, and TRW, which will provide transportation.

"I told my mom I'm going to see the circus," said Roshaund Day, 14, adding that he was most excited by the chance to see elephants and tigers.

Virginia Pratt, the school's resource specialist for students who have difficulty in reading, English and math, said she is thrilled that the students are going on the field trip.

"I'm just so thankful to the Shriners and to TRW because a lot of these kids have never been to such a nice place," said Pratt, noting that the Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Shrine Auditorium last month. "These kids will be able to sit where the rich people sat," she said.

The children, however, seemed far more excited about seeing the animals than being where celebrities have been.

"We're going to have a nice time," said Washanda Johnson, 14. "I know it's going to be fun seeing the tigers and lions do some tricks."

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