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Monumental Memories in Washington, D.C.

Monumental Memories in Washington, D.C.

Why should a Christian care about our nation’s history? Middle school history teacher Sharon Ha posed this question to her students as they began to interact with the history of the United States on a personal level, preparing for their trip to Washington, D.C.

Prior to the week-long trip to our nation’s capital, each student was assigned a monument, museum or specific location from the upcoming itinerary to research and prepare a presentation. Students completed real-world research and honed their public speaking skills by delivering their findings as if they were tour guides in the classroom.

Traveling hundreds of miles cross country to Washington, D.C., students were transported from the classroom to the real world. Eighth grader Reese Wanner shared what it was like, saying, “It was very impactful for me to see what we studied in person. What was first just a place on an itinerary became real.” 

Throughout the trip, students presented their research at the corresponding location or landmark. Eighth graders were instructed to think critically and consider what questions would be asked of them, becoming tour guides at locations such as the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Gettysburg, the Naval Academy, the Vietnam War Memorial and more. 

According to Middle School Assistant Head Craig Brockhan, the highlights of the trip were the Naval Academy, tour of the Capitol, Gettysburg and dinner at the Dobbin House in Gettysburg. Sloane Secrest ‘28 said her personal favorite was the Naval Academy since it allowed her to see “how it shapes the future leaders of America.” She added, “The requirements to be in the military academies are not just academic excellence, but also exceptional leadership and impressive athletic abilities that prove you're able to defend this country.

Two more meaningful experiences impacted eighth graders at a deeper level. First, four students laid wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: Reese Wanner, Nell Murphy, Trey Hensley and Collin Edmiston. Secondly, Reese shared about how much the Holocaust Museum impacted her and her classmates with an immersive experience. 

“The Washington, D.C. trip was very impactful for me,” said Reese, “and I hope it continues to be for the classes of the future.”

Washington, D.C. 2024