Column: Texting in House Chambers - who knew?WORTHINGTON — The start of summer break for me always begins with a great trip to our nation’s capital with eighth-grade students.
By: Sarah Darling, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The start of summer break for me always begins with a great trip to our nation’s capital with eighth-grade students. This year, 13 students and four adults went on the trip and experienced American History in a whole new way.
Each year we see the monuments, memorials and landmarks of our history. The kids were well prepared for the three hours of rain we encountered at Arlington National Cemetery and were great sports singing karaoke on the bus while riding back to the hotel Friday night.
Some highlights this year were the new Capital Visitors Center, sitting in at the House of Representatives and getting inside the Supreme Court. The pace of the Capitol Hill is always thrilling as our elected officials rush around with BlackBerrys in hand, texting away with the latest news and vote results. While in the House Chambers I was thinking about the framers of the Constitution and their ability to design a government that could change with the times and continue into a technological era that no one could have imagined.
When you sit in the balcony and look at the front of the House chambers, you see the exact spot the president gives his State of the Union address. The history in that stage alone is profound. Then you scan out to the House members’ seats and are reminded of modern America melding with history as the Palms, BlackBerrys and cell phones are all busy sending and receiving messages with the latest research data on any given topic.
We arrived home to news of the tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum, and felt grateful and blessed that we were spared that horror as we had just been there days before. The news of the death of the security guard was a poignant reminder of all those who work so hard to ensure that my students and I have a safe experience in our nation’s capital. You become immune to the metal detectors, security check points and police presence at all the stops, but news of the death at the Holocaust Museum reminds us to never take our safety for granted.
As always it was a great trip with great kids and parents, and I cannot wait to do it again in 2010.
Sarah Darling is a social studies teacher at Worthington Middle School.