For students in Mrs. Laura O’Rorke’s A.P. US Gov. class, learning in the classroom is only part of the plan . . . because if you want to learn about our government, what better way than by visiting its seat: Washington D.C.
The bus departed at 4:01 a.m. as Beaver Area High School students prepared for a five-hour ride to our nation’s capital. The bus was packing 53 students and four chaperones—and after a single stop in Breezewood so travelers could stretch their legs or get breakfast, D.C. came into view.
Once in the District of Columbia’s downtown they were greeted by the famous blooming cherry blossoms, the towering capital building, and something new . . . the speedy shrill of rentable electric scooters.
“It was a pretty time of year because of the cherry blossoms,” said senior Grace Barrett.
The students’ first stop in the city was outside their hotel, the Hampton Inn just outside Chinatown. Passengers were greeted with free coffee and a place to unload their luggage.
Their first official tour of the overnight trip was of the very impressive Capital building. Their tour guide, Marcus, led them through the enormous building explaining the historical importance of the architecture.
“My favorite part of the Capital building was our tour guide, Marcus. He was pretty funny and made the tour pretty interesting,” said senior Justin Bell.
After the extensive Capital tour, students were granted a couple of hours of free time which they could spend grabbing a quick bite to eat or napping in the hotel lobby while waiting for all of the rooms to be checked in.
At 6 p.m. the call went out: “PIZZA”! This quick sustenance prepared the traveller for their next tour which involved plenty of walking.
The monument tour, now a Beaver Area tour-group tradition, was next in line and included a two-hour blister-inducing trudge among the Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, MLK, WWII, Korean War, and The Wall memorials and monuments.
“The D.C. trip was one of the most educational and awesome trips in high school that I ever participated in. Me being quite the jokester created a four-minute documentary of selfies that I took with random people [encountered during the trip]. Many loved it, but some people didn’t find it too amusing,” shared senior Charles Bates.
After the walking tour, all students and chaperones returned to the hotel which ended up being about a 30 minute walk. Arriving around 9 p.m. the students had plenty of time to get themselves tucked in for bed . . . Wrong! Just about every student on the trip went swimming in the hotel pool until the pool closed.
The next morning began with breakfast and then back on the bus to leave to visit nearby Mount Vernon.
“My favorite part of the trip was Mount Vernon. Most of all I loved the animals, but I was very disappointed to find out the billy goats were just baby sheep,” explained senior Hayley Hartle.
Returning to the downtown, the group had only a couple of hours of free time until the bus departed D.C. for good. Students could spend their time visiting the Smithsonian museums, getting a bite to eat, or even renting an electric scooter. Students were free to do just about whatever they wanted—as long as they stayed within the boundaries of the National Mall.
“Mr. Hank and Mr. Smithhammer rented scooters, and I rode my one-wheel [scooter]. We rode around D.C. until the bus was ready,” said chaperone Mr. Joe Harden.
At 4:30 p.m. the bus departed Washington D.C. for the sleepy, slow roll back to Beaver—and learning as usual . . .