Letter: An educational - and fun - trip to the nation's capitalVisiting the nation’s capital with students has become an important summer ritual for me. It is the crowning jewel of a year of teaching American History to eighth-graders.
By: Sarah Darling, Worthington, Worthington Daily Globe
Visiting the nation’s capital with students has become an important summer ritual for me. It is the crowning jewel of a year of teaching American History to eighth-graders. I marvel at the sights we see and am inspired by the ideals of democracy preserved in each historical stop. With the serenity of the memorials honoring those who have served our country, the patriotism of the National Archives that house the documents of our founding fathers, and the loyalty and dedication of the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Washington, D.C., is the greatest history classroom a person can learn in.
In June, 16 students from Worthington Middle School and four adults accompanied Kelly Karelis and me on this journey through history. The tidbits of knowledge we gained from standing on the steps of the Capitol or the stairs of Mt. Vernon are priceless. The Reading Room at the Library of Congress is as impressive as portrayed in the movies. Seeing an actual person sitting there working on research was humbling, as it reminds us that these important buildings in Washington are built for the citizens of this country and are ours to use and learn from.
Learn we did, but we also had fun. It is a trip after all, and things are bound to happen. Some were locked briefly in a hotel stairwell, some were evacuated from their room due to a small “electrical issue,” one was locked in the bathroom when the door handle mechanism broke, and one group was evacuated out of the capitol via the basement due to a suspicious package scare. What great memories these are today, and what great stories these will be to share in years to come.
Through it all the kids had a wonderful attitude, a great appreciation for their experience and a sense of humor that kept us going in 100-degree heat. Thanks, everyone, for a great trip.