Grade 11 American History Students Venture to Washington, D.C.

It was an action-packed weekend for a group of Grade 11 American History students as they ventured through the city of Washinton, D.C.

After a long morning of travel on April 12, their first stop was the United States Capitol Building, home of Congress. They took a guided tour through the building which included sights such as Statutory Hall, the original Supreme Court chamber, and the Crypt, which was the intended burial place of George and Martha Washington. Following their tour, the students wound down at a Washington Nationals baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park.

The next morning, they woke to what would be their busiest day of the trip. They started with an educational tour at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where they paid their respects to Canadian service people who gave their lives in one of America’s most diverse wars. Afterward, they visited several more memorials including the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial. They learned about the history and significance of each location.

By the time the afternoon hit, they were at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture. Students were exposed to more than 36,000 artifacts during their tour.

When dinner came along, the students had the opportunity to dine at the original Ben’s Chili Bowl. This diner is a landmark in Washington. It’s known for its chili dogs, half-smokes, and milkshakes, and has been an integral part of the neighborhood since its founding in 1958. In January 2009, Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty took then-President-elect Barack Obama to eat at Ben's as part of his welcome to the city.

After a good night’s rest, students spent their last full day exploring two very well-known museums: The Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum and research complex, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This amazing site, which is both memorial and museum, details the rise of Hitler's Germany and the horrors of World War II.

They ended the day at the Kennedy Centre, where they watched Grammy- and Golden Globe-winning artist, Queen Latifah, perform as part of The Bridge Concert Series. It was a fun experience for students to see a well-known hip hop artist perform live in concert.

Before departing the city the next day, students caught a glimpse of the Newseum. This space features seven levels of galleries and theatres which showed the students behind the scenes of how and why the news is made. It was a great way to cap off their week in D.C.

After a lot of walking and exploring, the students were ready to catch their flight home. They enjoyed seeing first-hand everything they had learned in class and read in textbooks. An educational, adventure-filled trip will always be one to remember. Special thanks to Mr. Hurley for his hard work in making it all possible.
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