December 14, 2018

World As Our Classroom: D.C.


World As Our Classroom: D.C. DATE: 04-10-2015

April 10, 2015- For the third consecutive year, the Social Studies Department ventured to Washington, D.C. with a group of 45 juniors, seniors and sophomores. The whirlwind itinerary (see below) doesn’t leave much room for rest; one teacher that I spoke with reported clocking ten miles on her pedometer on the first day alone!

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I spoke with a couple of students, Sarah Rousse ('16) & Andy Ostler ('15), about the highlights of this year’s trip. Along with 30% of this year’s student crew, it’s Sarah’s second year going on this trip. This year, she spent a lot of time at the Holocaust Museum. Led by Shannon Johnson, this group had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak with a Holocaust survivor in the museum’s First Person 2015 Series. “It was amazing… I mean, she was there. She was about 100 years old and by being able to speak with her, it’s like I can be a part of the history, too. It was just amazing.” Andy added on, “It’s one thing to study these things in a textbook: it’s another to go and see that it’s real. I’ve been to D.C. with my family before, but it’s a different and more fun experience with friends.”

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Shannon Johnson, whose own historical interests focus around genocidal studies and the Holocaust, agreed with Sarah & Andy. She explained that one of the reasons she has continued to spearhead this trip is because it allows teachers and students alike to share firsthand experiences around common historical interests. Also, “It’s our nation’s capital, all of the museums are free so that it’s affordable for our students, and it’s so close! The major goal is to expose students to this city and to give them a reason to return. There’s just so much to do, so each year we build in flexibility with structured and free time so that students have time to pursue their own interests as well.”

On the second day, students choose a chaperone group to visit various sites; students relate stories of their respective site visits to one another at dinner.

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2015 Chaperones and Destinations:

  • Shannon Johnson & Izzy Provencha: Holocaust Museum

  • Roger Maynard & Doug Anton: The Senate

  • Nelson Fogg: Vietnam and Korean War Memorials

  • Angie Conrad-Schlager: “The Mall”: American Indian Museum, Botanical Gardens, Castle. Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Natural History (no wonder that Angie clocked 10 miles!)


Itinerary – Washington D.C. Trip – March 18-20, 2015


March 18, 2015

5:00 a.m. – Depart from Hartford High School – Travel to Washington D.C

(Travel Time around 8 ½ hours including 2 rest stops, one of which will be for lunch)

2:00 – Arrive in Washington D.C. – Smithsonian of Choice- American History, Air and Space, or Natural History

5:00- Dinner at Union Station

7:00 – Check into Hotel

7:30- Night Monument Tour – Jefferson, Lincoln, WWII, Vietnam, Korean War, MLK Jr.

9:00 – Return to hotel

March 19, 2015

6-7:30- Breakfast at hotel

8:00 – Depart for Arlington National Cemetery

9:00- 10:00- Arlington National Cemetery

10:00 – Depart for Museums/Monuments

10:30- Museums and attractions of group choice. Students will choose which chaperones group they would like to travel with depending on student interest.

12:00 – Lunch on your own

5:00/5:30 – Meet back at Hotel to regroup for dinner.

7:00- Leave hotel for dinner

7:30 – Dinner at Bucca di Beppo


March 20, 2015

6-7:30- Breakfast at Hotel

8:00 – Leave for the National Zoo

8:30-11:00 National Zoo

12:00/Depart for Home


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As I biased believer in the power of travel to open our eyes and teach us about the world -and consequently, ourselves- I am so excited for all of the D.C. 2015 trip participants!


-Alexis Nelson