About the Author: This is a guest post by Eileen Metzgar, a parent at Center Elementary School. All five of her children have been fortunate to participate in the D.C. field trip. Her one daughter currently attends George Washington University in D.C. and her oldest daughter has accepted a new teaching job in D.C. and is moving there in July. Although Eileen has been involved in the D.C. field trip before, this is the first time she has been the lead chaperone and the Scholastica liaison. She is actively involved in the school’s PTA and is the chairman of the Market Day Committee and volunteers for numerous other activities.
Most parents do not volunteer to organize a trip to Washington, D.C. for a group of sixth graders. I have to admit, I didn’t jump at the chance to plan the trip and be the lead chaperone either. But when our PTA president, who is a good friend, was looking for a few volunteers and she asked me, for some crazy reason I said, “sure”! It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Although there are challenges organizing a trip for 80 students and adults, everything eventually comes together and you are in our nation’s capital thinking, “Wow, this was worth it!”
Washington, D.C. is an awesome city. From the Smithsonian Museums to the White House the students were in awe of everything they saw. Before the trip, each student researched one D.C. site. On our way to each site, the student who researched the topic shared what he/she had learned and some of the most interesting facts. It was so great to see how the students really listened and were interested in each topic.
When you take eleven and twelve year olds on a field trip you never quite know what will happen. What we learned is wonderful things happen. They were respectful everywhere they went. They were quiet and removed their hats at the tomb of the unknown soldier, they listened carefully to the tour guide at the Capitol, they went to the Vietnam Memorial and intently looked at the names on the wall identifying which ones were still missing, which ones had passed in the war, and which ones were at first missing and then identified.
We were fortunate to be granted a tour of the White House. During the tour we were told to stay in one room a little longer and watch out the window. As we watched we saw a helicopter land and President Obama appear and get on the helicopter. The students and chaperones were so excited. They had just seen the President of the United States. It was the highlight of the trip for all present.
We were also fortunate to have excellent tour guides from Scholastica. Lyn and Larry were enthusiastic and shared their knowledge of everything in D.C. There was a special request from one father, who was a police officer, to visit the Police Memorial. Lynn did not hesitate to make his request happen. We did everything on our itinerary and then some! No one was disappointed.
This was my last of five children going on the sixth grade trip to D.C. I was happy that I was able to experience this with him. I encourage everyone to experience our capital with your child. The things you learn from being there and experiencing it with your child are memories you will forever cherish and so will your child. Maybe someone will ask you to organize a trip for some students. You should definitely say, “sure”!
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