By Ken Wilson
Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just keeping reading and see and I’ll tell you how about my 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C.
Bear with me, this trip was about 7 years ago in March of 2010. This trip was restricted for to just students that were in any AAP (Advanced Academic Program) level Social Studies course at my middle school, Heyward Gibbes. They took about 50 or so students with about 7 teachers all of whom taught us at some point or another. They were all history fanatics or like us could use the break from school. We were set to go for 4 days and 3 nights so that we could truly soak up what nation’s capital had to offer us. But now let me get to the trip.
So, our trip started with our parents getting us to school to leave on a charter bus at about 8:30 in the morning. For someone like me this trip would be the farthest I had ever traveled outside of South Carolina. Still to this day as I am writing this in November I have not gotten the opportunity to travel far and wide…yet. The car ride was very tough for me because I had never been in a moving anything for more than 2 hours so to be on a charter bus with 50 other people for a little more than 8 hours was a new experience for me. When we got there the first place we stopped was our hotel to drop off our stuff. If I remember right I believe we stayed at a Hilton Hotel.
After dropping off stuff, stretching our legs, using the restroom and taking in the beauty that was truly this city, we visited Union Station where we got the opportunity to visit all of the different shops and restaurants located in just that location. I remember it being very big and sort of intimidating but in a good way and that is saying something considering I’ve always been a big guy, myself. Our night didn’t end with just Union Station because after we finished there we went night sight-seeing around the city and got up the public area behind the White House. It was a sight that I’ll never forget because it was right there, erected in front of me. The other great thing about walking around D. C. at night is that we didn’t have a tour guide so we were free to explore as much of the city (as long as our teachers could see us!) as we wanted. That first night was so breathtaking from the moment it started to the moment I laid down to sleep that night.
The next day was just as exciting because we went to the Smithsonian Museum that focused on Air and Space. It was exhilarating to see that there was a whole place dedicated to showcasing how far we as humans have come in exploring our worlds from aerial views. After that we went to the National Museum of African Art which was really exciting especially because everyone on the trip except two of my teachers happen to be of color and we were able to experience firsthand a facet of African culture. We saw artwork in the forms of traditional African island mask and videos of recorded African ritual dancing.
I’ll have to explore the rest of the trip in another blog.