Close-Up Club’s works on final fundraisers


The $600 worth of flowers were tied with a ribbon and had an addressed card. The picture shows the flowers ready to be distributed by Billingsley, Close-Up students, and other Decatur parents and students.

Decatur’s Close-Up club builds a group of students to attend the annual Washington D.C. field trip. The club has been ran by Decatur social studies teacher Christopher Billingsley for over three decades. Many students in years past have enjoyed spending the week after spring break traveling to Washington D.C.

The trip this year will be the last trip chaperoned and fundraised by Billingsley, who will be retiring from teaching after this year. Billingsley is still excited for the D.C. trip this year. The Close-Up students have worked hard with him to fundraise for the trip.

The most recent Close-Up fundraiser was the flower sale to Decatur students prior to Valentine’s Day. “We sold 2,000 dollars worth of flowers this year,” Billingsley said. The flowers cost 600 dollars so that means we earned 1,400 dollars for the trip, he said. Billingsley and his 27 Close-Up students are proud of their success from the flower sale.

The Close-Up club is planning a “Spring clean-up” fundraiser for sometime in mid to late March. We are planning to have the clean-up on March 24th, he said. “We will be planting trees, raking leaves, mulching” said Billingsley.

“Anything [the fundraisers] we do is a free service for Decatur residents” Billingsley said. He strongly supports Decatur students helping out with the greater community. “It’s important to build a positive relationship between DHS students and Decatur residents” he said.

The Close-Up club welcomes any Decatur student that wants to help out with their service projects and fundraisers. It’s important for Decatur students to work hard and accomplish good things at the fundraisers, Billingsley said. Students can accomplish great things at service projects by “Working hard, getting sweaty and getting dirty” he said.

Emory University’s law school provides an opportunity for Decatur students to volunteer with them once a year. Billingsley plans to have a volunteering field trip to Emory again this year. Students get paid a few dollars for volunteering while the rest of the raised money is donated to the Decatur Education Foundation. “Last year, we donated 2,200 dollars to the Decatur Education Foundation” Billingsley said.

Billingsley has really enjoyed the Close-Up trip for many years. Even though he is retiring, he really wants to take away life lessons from his experiences on the trip. It’s been a great experience for me. It’s taught me to be a parent figure to the students while they’re on the trip, he said. “I feel closer to the Close-Up (and former Close-Up) students than other DHS students”

From the very many fundraisers, to meeting Senators and Congressman on the trip, to going to President Obama’s Inauguration a few years back, Billingsley is proud of what he does for Close-Up.