Over spring break, a group of Ligon Middle School students made lifetime memories in Washington D.C. and Baltimore.
The trip began on Wednesday at Howard University where students competed in a scavenger hunt on campus to learn about the history of Howard and interact with college students. “H-U!” ”You know!” The group even crossed paths with a Ligon graduate who is currently attending Howard! After lunch in the main dining hall, everyone walked the National Mall to see the World War II, Vietnam Veterans, and the Lincoln memorials before circling back to the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Students took photos with iPads and identified quotes that spoke to them in group reflection. Pizza dinner came late and everyone crashed from the miles of walking.
Day two led us to Baltimore and the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. Students voted this experience the most educational due to the knowledgeable guide who led our 1.5 tour that covered Black history from ancient times, to American slavery, through the Civil Rights era and into today. Students feverishly took notes and asked questions. (On the bus ride home they were still shouting out facts they learned in Baltimore). Lunch on the harbor preceded the return trip to D.C. to view the White House and visit the Museum of Natural History. After a walk to the Capitol and dinner at Chevy’s, everyone was ready to hit the hay.
The final day of our trip started before dawn to ensure that we made it to Arlington National Cemetery before the gates opened. We climbed a hill to catch the first Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visited the Eternal Flame over the Kennedy graves as we made our way back to the bus. The bulk of our day was spent at Mt. Vernon. We took a guided Potomac River cruise to learn about Washington’s love for the river, view Fort Washington, and glimpse our nation’s capitol from the water. Our youth were deeply impacted by walking through the home of our first president and viewing the spaces where our Founding Fathers met. We walked the grounds from end to end to understand the lives of Washington’s slaves and servants and even viewed a slave cabin.
Our youth held themselves with dignity and respect on hallowed ground, great enthusiasm for learning in museums and at monuments, and joyful play during moments of downtime. It was a pleasure to spend several days with this amazing group of young people.