Shelton school’s field trip brings hands-on knowledge

A group of Shelton Intermediate School students thank a veteran for his service at the World War II Memorial while on a field trip to Washington, D.C.
A group of Shelton Intermediate School students thank a veteran for his service at the World War II Memorial while on a field trip to Washington, D.C.

On the way home from a field trip to Washington, D.C., a group of eighth graders from Shelton Intermediate School (SIS) demonstrated how much they had learned from visiting the nation’s capital.

Adults on the bus engaged them in an oral trivia quiz based on the sites they had seen, and wrong answers were not heard.

“We were stuck in traffic so we started firing off questions,” said Dina Marks, SIS assistant principal. “The students were amazing. They remembered so much. Even when we gave them some real tough ones, they got them right.”

Bill Serrano, an adult chaperone whose daughter Jade was on the trip, was equally impressed. “We tried to stump them but we couldn’t,” he said.

Up close and personal knowledge

Their correct answers seemed to symbolize how much youngsters can learn when lessons are more “up close and personal” than from a textbook, according to Serrano.

“They can read all they want in history books, but the knowledge these kids learned on the trip was amazing,” he said.

Marks said a visit to the Holocaust Museum particularly moved students. She also was impressed with how they approached a few veterans to thank them for their service when at the World War II Memorial.

That also touched Serrano. “It brought a tear to my eye when I saw the kids thanking a 90-year-old veteran in a wheelchair,” he said.

Student: 'It was great to see it first-hand'

Student Adam Emanuel said the trip was fun and educational.

“We got to stand in front of the White House for a photo opportunity,” Adam said. “The Holocaust Museum was very sad. And at the Lincoln Memorial, they told us things about it we didn’t know.”

Another student on the trip, Robert Weissenburg, said watching the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery was a highlight.

“It’s pretty cool that they are so precise,” Robert said. “It was great to see it first-hand, and not just in a documentary or on TV.”

The trip included some lighter moments as well. Students got to see Harry Potter’s cape and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz at the Museum of American History.

Visit monuments, museums, federal buildings

Marks said this was the 10th field trip she has led to D.C. with students during her 19-year career in the Shelton schools. She previously was a social studies teacher.

This year, 77 students and 11 adults made the four-day trip. “They get an appreciation for our history by visiting monuments and museums, and get a better understanding on our government — for instance, what branch does what — when visiting the Capitol,” she said.

Serrano said the group visited locations almost nonstop. He was impressed with how well behaved the children were and how the adults — he was the only non-teacher chaperone — interacted with them.

“You couldn’t get a better bunch of kids and teachers,” he said.