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Movie screenings raise funds for Europe trip

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

This week, community members have an opportunity to view a classic war film and help a group of local residents and students experience the history of World War II firsthand.

West Kentucky Community & Technical College will host two viewings of "Battleground," a 1949 American war film directed by William Wellman, that revolves around the Siege of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The film has been referred to as one of the first significant films on World War II, according to Tammy Thompson, WKCTC public relations coordinator.

The movie-theme fundraiser, in partnership with Maiden Alley Cinema, will be the first for the college's study-abroad program with funds going to defray travel costs for WKCTC students, according to Patricia Blaine, WKCTC education professor and trip tour leader.

"It's a wonderful way to get the word out about the study abroad program and how it provides learning outside the classroom and into the community," she said.

The May excursion will be the first non-Spanish study abroad expedition, with previous trips to Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Spain sponsored by the school. About 22 people, including five students, are currently signed up for the European World War II trip, which will center on museums and important landmarks of the war. The first seven-day section of the trip, from May 15-23, will focus on London and France, The longer trip, which spotlights Germany, includes nine additional days and ends May 30.

Blaine said the special component of the local study-abroad program is its ability to connect current residents with family ties to World War II servicemen and servicewomen in western Kentucky and southern Illinois area.

"Some of our community members had parents who served in those actual places where we will get to go and share with another generation," she said. "It will be an education for all of us."

The movie will have two showings at Maiden Alley Cinema at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Ticket prices are $7.25 for adults and $4.75 for students. WKCTC professor emeritus Berry Craig, who is currently teaching a History 120 class as an introduction to the trip, will give a short speech about the historical context of the film prior to each screening.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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