The yearly grade 8 trip to the Washington, D.C., area took place last week, as students traveled across the country to learn more about the history of the area and its role in the formation of the United States. After arriving in Williamsburg, Va., the students visited Jamestown, North America’s first permanent English settlement. Guides showed the students various facets of everyday life, including food preparation, living arrangements and the making of clothes. Afterward, the students visited Colonial Williamsburg, a living recreation of a colonial city, visiting its capitol, court and governor’s palace, in addition to a wig maker, apothecary and other shops. While visiting the College of William & Mary, the students toured the campus and saw several of its landmarks, and visited an interactive African-American music exhibition.
The next day, in Washington, D.C., the students visited Pamplin Park, and learned much about the Civil War, including the daily lives of soldiers. They toured the Tudor Hall Plantation, home to the Boisseau family and a confederate general’s headquarters during the war. A highlight of the first day was a visit to the Capitol Hill Club to see Maheen Kaleem ’03, now working in Washington as a program officer for NoVo Foundation’s initiative to end violence against girls and women. Kaleem introduced the students to her work and informed them that they could make a difference by “standing up for others, asking questions and in general trying to advocate for what is right,” reported assistant head of school Jennifer Gargano. Following Kaleem’s presentation, the students visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.
Day two in Washington began with visits to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) and Arlington National Cemetery, where they witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The students later enjoyed lunch at Old Town Alexandria, home to many shops and restaurants, before visiting Mount Vernon, the storied home of George and Martha Washington. Students explored the Washingtons’ mansion and visited the tomb of the first U.S. president, while also speaking to guides on the property who were in-character as people who lived during Washington’s presidency.
On Wednesday, Oct. 24, the students headed to the Newseum to view its amazing series of exhibits on the importance and influence of journalism on American society. Students marveled at the Pulitzer Prize photograph gallery and the front page gallery. Later, at FBI headquarters, the students were treated to a tour that featured various interactive exhibits, as well as a scavenger hunt that had them searching for information at the exhibits. Their final stop for the day was the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where they delved into the history of one of the greatest tragedies of modern times. “They took a lot of time reading the displays and watching the various available videos to more deeply understand this atrocity,” Gargano said.
Day six of the trip was very packed, as students started with a tour of the Capitol Building, where they viewed the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. “The students were excited to see where the State of the Union address takes place, among many other important affairs,” said Gargano. They also had the opportunity to meet with three members of Sen. Diane Feinstein’s staff and ask them questions about the work of a U.S. senator. Other stops included the Library of Congress, the National Archives and the Supreme Court.