About the author:
Katie Day, a recent graduate of Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, is finishing her Education Licensure to become an English teacher. Katie recently traveled with the Lakewood Middle School Eighth graders to Gettysburg PA and Washington DC, with one very special tourist, Flat Stanley.
In May of 2011 and 2012, I was lucky enough to chaperon a school trip for the Lakewood Middle School eighth grade class. My dad, a retired teacher for the district and my mom, also retired from Licking County, are chaperons and had told me when I turned twenty-one that I could travel with the group too. Last May I was ecstatic to be able to travel with the group and experience an incredibly educational side of both Gettysburg and Washington D.C. with Scholastica Travel.
The running joke, as always, was, “Katie, don’t lose anyone”. As a first time chaperon, of course, there is some added pressure. Last year I had eight eighth graders, and I never lost a single one. This year, fewer jokes were made about me losing one of the students because I had gained some credibility; however, I had one extra traveler with me along with my eighth graders. The joke then became, “Katie, do you have Stanley?”
I was sent a Flat Stanley from an elementary student at Maysville School in Zanesville Ohio. It was my job as Stanley’s caretaker to make sure he was well taken care of and got the full experience of traveling through Gettysburg and our nation’s capital. I have to admit, as a twenty-two year old, that I probably got more excited about Flat Stanley than most would. But I, as well as a number of chaperons and tour leaders, were all bound and determined to get an assortment of really wonderful pictures of Stanley’s adventure to send back to the student.
Stanley was literally everywhere with me. He was easily the most eager traveler in the whole group and he fit perfectly in my pocket in between photo shoots. Among the many things Flat Stanley saw was the battlefield of Gettysburg, the White House, Arlington National Cemetery (including a Full Honor Wreath Laying Ceremony), Medieval Times (including a photo shoot with the King and Princess), as well as many meals and laughs shared with both teachers, chaperons and students alike. Stanley really got to see and enjoy the highlights of both of the cities we toured, and always had a smile on his face.
I sent Stanley back to his student with around forty pictures, a horse statue from Medieval Times, a pressed penny from Mount Vernon, a Washington D.C. sticker, as well as a letter explaining how much fun all of us had with Flat Stanley. A few days later I received a letter from the teachers saying that ours had been the best response for Stanley.
I leave these words of advice: if you are ever given the opportunity to travel with a Flat Stanley, do so. I can honestly say that Gettysburg and D.C. have never been more fun to travel and experience than when given the opportunity to share and document it with Stanley. And to think a few pictures and a letter of return have the ability to educate a student who wasn’t even there and traveling with us.
By the end of the week everyone was asking, “Hey Katie, did you get a picture of Stanley here?”. The answer was always yes, we got a picture of Stanley everywhere.
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