Grand County 8th graders from East and West Grand school districts spent four days in Washington D.C in May. This was the first time both schools have traveled on the annual D.C. trip together. Students raise their own funds during the school year to make the trip possible.
From East Grand, students talked about their trip and the places they visited to the Sky-Hi News in the the East Grand Middle School library this week.
I thought it would be a good experience to go to Washington, D.C. I went once before, but wanted to go with friends and have a good time. The Holocaust Museum was really sad. There are surprising things in there.
It was fun to be with my friends. My sister went when she was in 8th grade. I was really tired by the end but it was fun. I came home and crashed. We roomed with three other kids. It was the first time with friends, away from family.
I really like the National Cathedral. I liked the stained glass. We toured the building. It was my first trip to D.C. We studied the monuments. I liked the Air and Space Museum especially the space shuttles.
I wanted to go so badly just to explore other parts of the U.S. and monuments. I wasn't expecting the city to be green. The city and monuments were so different. It was really hot the first day and humid. I loved walking around Washington with my friends, exploring. The National Cathedral is so artistic and so many intricate pieces. The cathedral is stained glass and wood carving. I'm not into that but could draw it. There wasn't enough time to draw (what I saw). The Holocaust Museum was really cool. I remember walking into the hallway with all the shoes. You walk in and there were shoes on both sides. The teachers talked to us (about the Holocaust) in the class. But when you walked in and saw the shoes, you could tell it just wasn't a good thing.
Ms. Steinberg got us there, arranged the food, a place to sleep, and where we were going. She was on top of it. And glad she took our class. I wish I could've had more time. The marble work in the Lincoln Memorial, and all those incredible places were stunning. The Korean War Memorial was moving because you go through it and see statues of soldiers. At the end there was a pond, on the side on a wall listed the number of dead and missing. On the way back around on the field was another wall, engraved with the face of men, women and children. The material was reflected so you could see yourself in the mirror. It was so moving to see your reflection.
I wanted to go to D.C. because I've never been there before and wanted to see the monuments. I liked the Korean Monument. We saw the statues in the field at night. The soldiers and their faces looked sad. I'm lucky I don't have to go to war. The statues looked so sad.
I liked going to The National Cathedral. I've been to Italy and it reminded me of the cathedrals in Italy. I really want to go to Spain. My grandma has been there and she tells me about all the history and I want to go see that.
It was such a good experience to see the monuments and the places that I've only seen in pictures. They are so much bigger than what they seemed in pictures. The most interesting monument is the Marine Corps with six men and flags. Most of my family has been in the military.
I wanted to go because former 8th-graders told me it was fun and educational. We would see the history of everything. At the WWII Memorial there was a wall of stars - 4,600 and each one represented 100 people that died during WWII. You step back and can't believe that many people died. I wanted to stay in D.C. longer and explore. If I could've stayed longer I would go back to the Holocaust Museum and learned about how the war started and how someone could have that much power.
Here are some of the stories from the trip, contributed by all the above students:
The first night there was a fire alarm. A few girls slept through it but it was a false alarm from burned popcorn. We left that morning at 3 a.m. and we were so tired. But we didn't have to go outside. We stayed at the Best Western Iwo Jima. Boys were on the first floor and girls on the second and we walked across the parking lot to the cafe for breakfast and dinner. There was a pool and we had a party the last night.
The Ghost Tour was fun and we walked with tour guide who told us stories that happened at the site. Some people believed it and some don't. They told stories about kids that were buried at the cemetery and telling stories about people who died young.
We walked the hills of Arlington National Cemetery. It was really hot and there were headstones all over the hills. The Changing of the Guard was interesting. They are protecting the Tomb of Unknown Soldier. They told the story of how they had to take one body out because they were able to identify him. Every 30 minutes they change - that is dedication. They are paying tribute to soldiers that died for our country.
We took a boat ride on the Potomac River at night. They told us about the monuments near the river, the bridges, the Washington Monument all lit up.
We went to the Ford Theater where Lincoln was shot. There was a guy selling ice cream, he was a big guy with a deep voice. He was funny and must be the richest ice cream man after 80 kids who are so hot and wanting ice cream.
We walked through the house across the street from the theater that is new this year. We saw the place where Mrs. Lincoln waited for him when he was shot.
We saw the Martin Luther King Monument looking over Jefferson Memorial. Engraved in the memorial it said, "out of the mountain a seed of hope."
Behind it was a mound of rock, and the walls covered with his famous quotes.
The Vietnam War Memorial had all the names all over the wall. People in our group found relations in the wall. At the beginning there was a book where you could look up a name. We saw the Police Officers Memorial. There were two Grand County people etched in the wall: Suzy Roberts who worked in Rocky Mountain National Park and Jeff Christianson. The week before there was a ceremony and there were people who were there who left beautiful intricate wreathes and flowers. We saw a note from Maddie to her dad. It is sad to think that girl is never going to remember her father and that is just horrible.
"Our group took it very seriously. They talked about what they saw and were very respectful. Just a great group of kids," said a school chaperon from the trip.
Kristen Lodge can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610