Why Washington? Exposing Our Students to the Nation’s Capital
As we welcome all the usual signs of spring — temperatures rising, birds singing, and flowers blooming — it’s worth highlighting a springtime favorite that’s very special
to Indian Rocks Christian School (IRCS) eighth-graders: a multi-day class trip to Washington, D.C. While there’s a great deal of logistical work in transporting nearly 70 students and two dozen chaperones on this action-packed trip, it’s proven to be a memorable and worthwhile endeavor. In fact, the D.C. trip has become a capstone experience for IRCS middle schoolers.
With so many other interesting class trip options, why select a trip to Washington, almost 1,000 miles away from the campus in Largo, FL? Simply put, exposing students to the nation’s capital ties together much of the middle school curriculum, benefiting students with some once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities.
Freedom is Not Free is a central focus of the trip and is meant to underscore the values of citizenship and patriotism that are fostered at Indian Rocks Christian School. The tour’s professional guides are interesting, personable, and understand middle schoolers, so they gear their presentations accordingly.
What Makes the Trip Special?
This year marks the third in a row that IRCS students have had the privilege of laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The wreath is laid by two boys and two girls who are selected through a school essay contest. This is
an experience they will never forget!
What Do They Visit?
A better question might be, what don’t they visit?
After arriving in northern Virginia, students begin their first touring day considering the Founding Fathers at:
- Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson
- Michie Tavern
- Mt. Vernon, home of George Washington
They end the day at memorials to Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The second day of touring includes:
- Arlington National Cemetery (JFK/RFK grave sites, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Custis-Lee Mansion)
- The Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Photo stop at the White House
- Lafayette Park, and
- Several memorials (WWII, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean, Iwo Jima)
The students wrap up their three days in D.C. with stops at:
- Ford’s Theatre and Petersen House
- The Smithsonian’s American History and/or Natural History Museum
- Capitol Building and Capitol Visitor Center
- Library of Congress and Supreme Court
- Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
- The National Archives (Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution)
Everyone Gets into the Act!
While U.S. History is an obvious emphasis of the trip, English classes also help prepare students for the trip. In the previous quarter, students researched topics, people, places, and memorials relevant to the D.C. tour. Many students became so knowledgeable about their research topic that they couldn’t help but share what they learned during the trip!
Students who have taken this trip usually point to time on the bus as a standout memory because they so thoroughly enjoyed being together with their friends. They’re all proud to wear the trip sweatshirt, created from an entry selected in the student design contest.
Learn More about the Indian Rocks Christian School Experience
Indian Rocks Christian School provides positive and challenging academic opportunities with a thoroughly Christian worldview. That’s evident on class trips such as this and throughout middle school!
Want to learn how your child can benefit from the Indian Rocks Christian School experience? Learn more in your free lookbook. Download your Lookbook today.