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Providence Class Eight students.

Every year, eighth grade students from Providence Christian School of Texas travel to Washington D.C. for a week to learn more about our nation’s extensive and fascinating history, as well as to grow closer together as a grade. This April, the students had the opportunity to visit the nation’s capital and many of its famous fixtures, such as the Smithsonian museums, Library of Congress, Capitol Hill, an array of monuments, memorials, and much more, seeing artifacts and locations that they have learned about throughout the year. On the steps of the Capitol, the students met with Congressman Pete Sessions, who talked to them about both the great sacrifices and rewards of pursuing a political career.

Besides exploring the city, students traveled to surrounding historical sites including Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Gettysburg, as well as the homes of famous Founding Fathers, particularly George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

A favorite of the week was a morning spent at Arlington National Cemetery, where students saw, and a few even participated in, the renowned Changing of the Guard ceremony. One student says the trip to the cemetery “was a great learning experience,” and many agree that they appreciated seeing the thousands of tombstones honoring soldiers and heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Arlington National Cemetery remains a prominent and annual destination, but this year students also saw a once-in-a lifetime event. The eighth graders witnessed NASA’s Discovery space shuttle, perched atop a 747, make its final flight around the D.C. skyline before retiring at the Smithsonian.

Other favorites included the Newseum, a museum that shows how the press and newspapers have helped tell and shape history over the years, and Monticello, Jefferson’s beautifully self-designed estate.

The eighth graders also enjoyed down time at the monuments’ various parks and outings to places like Georgetown.Year after year, the eighth grade D.C. trip proves to be the highlight of the school year, as students leave with both a deeper knowledge of America’s history and current events, as well as a closer bond with one another.

Anna Kate Benedict is a Providence Class Eight student who graduates in May.

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