Alta-Aurelia students explore history in Washington, D.C.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Condensing the history and heritage of the USA into four days is a tall task, but a group of Alta-Aurelia Middle School students set out to do just that.

The recent Washington, D.C. trip was planned for a year ago, but had to be postponed due to COVID concerns. About 45 students took part, along with over 20 parents and teachers.

“It was a lot of sight-seeing in a very short amount of time,” parent Jen Launderville said of the experience. “They were going non-stop from first thing in the morning until they got back to the hotel at 8 at night.”

The group left on a Thursday, flying out of Minneapolis, then climbing aboard a tour bus in Baltimore.

The itinerary included the U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, The Vietnam Wall and other war memorials, Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress, Washington Navy Yard, Georgetown and more.

Some of the sites remained on lockdown, and students were unable to enter. Their guide was able to get them access to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the final day of their trip, which was just reopening. Among the attractions there was the retired Space Shuttle Discovery.

Students particularly enjoyed the visit to Gettysburg battlefield and museum, where they learned about the history of the Civil War, and staged an impromptu recreation, the students charging against the parents. Video from that moment is posted on the AA Warriors Facebook page.

“All around it was a good, educational experience. The kids were really great,” Launderville said. “There’s no way anyone could have seen and done everything that took place on this trip on their own, and it was reasonably priced.”

Teachers Kate Westphal, Tammy Peterson and Ashley Brock created the trip opportunity, working with the World Classroom program out of South Dakota.

“I certainly hope the students come away with a better understanding of their history, and what was given up for them to enjoy the freedoms they have,” Launderville said. “I know the ones who went were very thankful, and they hope that other Alta-Aurelia students will get the opportunity in future years.”