KREMMLING - Five West Grand 8th-graders headed east to Washington, D.C., on a school-sponsored trip to experience history beginning May 18.
Joining them this year were students from East Grand Middle School. Shawn Davis, a 7th- and 8th-grade teacher, was one of the chaperones and has been planning the trip with numerous East Grand school staff since last summer.
"Tina Steinberg of East Grand organized the trip for both schools, with help from staff members," said Davis.
"I really liked watching the kids making new friends with the students from East Grand," she said.
West Grand students shared their impressions of traveling and the history they encountered while spending four days in Washington DC.
It was fun being able to go somewhere new. It was my first plane trip.
One thing we saw was the National Cathedral. We did a report on it before our trip. It is a church for all religions, and I wanted to see the stained glass window. I think the stained glass was beautiful; as beautiful as in the pictures.
We went on a Ghost Tour, it is very debatable subject - the debate could go on. One story the guide told us was about a cat and men who fell off the roof. In the story they were remodeling a structure to make it sound. In the building they found a dead cat that wasn't buried and curled up with it's paws curled up, so they buried the cat. Later, they built a tall hotel in front of the house. They found three men curled up dead like the cat. The guide said it was an Scottish curse where you had to bury a dead cat in the structure of the house to ward off evil spirit. Since the people left the cat to die, the curse happened.
We toured a cemetery and during the stories they said if something grabs your ankle, don't scream. No one talked much because we didn't know what to think.
(Do you want to go Washington DC again?) I remember when we got back I told Ms. Davis, let's wait just a month until we do it again.
(What's next?) I'm going to South Dakota, to visit my sister who had a baby. I've been to Mount Rushmore. Seeing Mount Rushmore pushed me to go to D.C. because I read about Mount Rushmore and I like the history and seeing the history in person is interesting. If you get a chance take it, go to D.C. I'd go back in the heartbeat; we just didn't see enough.
I liked seeing the memorials and monuments. I liked the Holocaust Museum. It was big, and it was sad to be in it. We saw the Lincoln Memorial, a marble building with columns and statue. There was an Einstein sculpture and you could climb on him and sit. We took some pictures of us sitting on Einstein.
I went on the trip because I didn't think I'd get a chance to go any other time. It was pretty exhausting. I liked the Air and Space Museum. If I went back, I'd probably spend more time at that museum. It was cool to see the Washington Monument where movies were filmed. Some of the planes in Air and Space Museum were from movies. When we were at the Holocaust Museum I realized that many people don't know how bad the Holocaust was, the extent of it, the medical experiments. We saw shoes from people who died, bunks, and prison door that come from one of the camps.
At the Natural History Museum we saw the Hope Diamond. It's is said to be cursed. Three of the former owners died after inheriting it. It was in a case, and it spun around, and was hard to get a picture. The traveling was fun, but I like living here. If you go to D.C., take the time to visit everything that it has to offer.
What I liked was the sense of new discovery in Washington, D.C. I learned at the Holocaust Museum that 1,000 Jews a day were killed in four crematoriums; one crematorium could kill 1,000 people. I learned that most people were stripped of valuables and clothing before they were killed.
I got a good picture of the Washington Memorial, a large obelisk, and it's the tallest building there because they don't let anything build bigger. It was weird to see a homeless person with a laptop. I got to eat sushi, for the first time, but no avocado next time.
I liked the city. It was different. I like the possibility of living there and walking to work. If I got the chance to travel again, I would like to go to Moscow and see the Kremlin. I'd like to see Saint Basil's Cathedral in St. Petersburg. If you get the chance to go to D.C., visit the gem section in the Smithsonian.
I liked seeing the American history and the military monuments. I liked the Iwo Jima Memorial. There was a person who told us about each of the soldiers.
We saw a monument to police officers who died; there were 72 names from people who died on 9/11. There was a ceremony the day before and we saw notes left: "We miss you Daddy".
I liked seeing the Korean War memorials and WW II monuments. Another of my favorite events on our trip was the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery; it was a special event for me. I am touched by the fact that soldiers give their life for our freedoms and sometimes we don't even know who they are. I hope I can someday serve my country in the armed forces.
We went on a Ghost Tour, in downtown Alexandria at night. We were told not to scream. We would drive through the town and tour guide would show us a house and tell a story about a ghost. They are pretty believable.
We walked past a protest in front of the White House and police were there. There was a man praying in the middle of the closed-off road. My next trip is to Niagara Falls. My great grandma is turning 90 and she wants to see it, and she wants the whole family to go. I definitely want to see the world.
This is an overview of Washington, DC, Davis said.
"You can stay weeks at the Smithsonian. This trip is to give students a taste of what it's like, a taste of urban life. It's neat to see the things that you've seen on television, climb the steps to the Lincoln Memorial."
Her favorite site on the trip, which she has done several times, is Mount Vernon.
"We toured the estate, mansion, and grounds. It's so beautiful to be walking where George Washington did, and to see the trees he planted. It brings history to life."
Kristen Lodge can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610