My son is on his eighth grade class trip to Boston this week. Thanks to modern technology and a savvy teacher who tweets frequently, I’ve been able to follow along on their adventures. I’ve never been to Boston, but I want to go now. They’ve been on a walking tour of downtown Boston, a nighttime ghost tour, visited Salem, Lexington, Concord and Cambridge, the JFK Library & Museum, Plymouth Plantation, the Mayflower, House of Seven Gables (Nathaniel Hawthorne’s house), and many, many more places. Visiting historical places brings history alive in a way no text book or video tour can.
His trip got me thinking about my eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. back in 1985. Our trip was a bit different. For one thing, we left on a bus early on Monday morning and our parents didn’t hear from us again until Friday evening. We also had a handful of chaperones for all 200+ of us, while my son’s class has four teachers with them keeping a very close eye on forty-three students.
I do hope there are some similarities between our trips. No, not the roach motel we stayed in or the crummy food. That trip to Washington, D.C. was truly transformative for me. I had traveled before, but for some reason that trip really made me look at the world in a new way. I still remember the magic of seeing the National Mall at night with all the monuments lit up and reading the inspiring words of Jefferson and Lincoln (it’s amazing how much more interesting they are when you’re not reading them from a textbook). Though I had studied all of the wars in which the U.S. was involved, visiting Arlington National Cemetery brought to life all the people who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and getting to see our government in action at the White House and the Capitol was amazing.
I loved Washington so much I later decided to attend The George Washington University. My freshman dorm was two blocks from the White House, and I spent four fabulous years exploring the city. I hope my son’s trip is as inspiring for him. Perhaps he’ll decide to go to school in Boston. They did visit Harvard this week.
Please share. Have you ever been on a class trip, or a trip that gave you a new perspective or changed your life in some way?