Twenty-seven students in grades 6-12, along with 19 parents and faculty members, recently returned from a seven-day trip to Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. “There’s history of seniors going on trips, but those were done before my time here,” stated Superintendent Al Stewart. “There have never been trips of this magnitude. We wanted to make this last year special.”
The initial idea began as a senior-only trip, but quickly progressed to involve all grade levels. “This big trip, with the educational component of Washington D.C., was the idea that really stuck,” Stewart said. The school made a major contribution to the cost of the trip, but students were required to take some ownership and pay 15%.
Because of its educational nature, and the low cost of admission to many of its sites, Washington D.C. was the winner. “Some also said they wanted to go to New York City, which we were able to make happen,” added Stewart. “Philadelphia worked out with our travel plans, so that was an added bonus.”
Each student was given a keepsake journal in which they were required to document the activities they experienced. “The teachers also gave the students special assignments related to things such as what they learned about science or math that day,” stated Stewart. “This essentially will become part of their grade, and hopefully they will save the journal and add it to their scrapbooks to look back on.”
To start their trip, the group flew from Minneapolis to Baltimore on April 19. They began by enjoying the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry and explored shops, ships, and museums at the Baltimore Inner Harbor.
On April 20, the group clocked nearly eight miles of walking while enjoying the sites of Washington D.C.: the Holocaust Museum, National Mall, Natural History Museum, WWII Memorial, Washington Monument, Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, FDR Memorial, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The group began its third day with a tour of the Capitol Building. They then walked to the Air and Space Museum before being transported to the Arlington National Cemetery where they had a guided tour including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Changing of the Guards. They visited Union Station and made a stop at Lafayette Park, and also viewed the White House.
Day four was spent in New York City. They arrived at Liberty Park in New Jersey and visited the Statue of Liberty. They also enjoyed Times Square and the Top of the Rock experience.
The next day, they saw Wall Street, the 9-11 Memorial, and Central Park. They wrapped up the day with the Broadway Musical Aladdin.
On their return trip, they visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia before departing for Minneapolis. “The whole experience was astounding, very interesting, and cool,” Stewart said.
Senior Brittany Crocker said she enjoyed New York City. “The most memorable moment of the trip would have to be going to New York and walking in Times Square. Also seeing the Broadway show Aladdin. I have always wanted to go to Times Square. This will be one of my memories of Grant-Deuel that will stick with me the most.”
Freshman Jaecy Engebretson said, “My favorite thing on the trip was the Aladdin Broadway show and also getting to see the 9-11 Memorial. From the trip, I learned to appreciate living in a small town.”
Jaecy’s mother, Amanda Engebretson, went along as a chaperone. “I chose to chaperone so I would be able to share with my girls the experience. We got to do and see things they may not get to see or do again with a group of students that have become like family,” she said. “My favorite part was the Broadway show and going to the top of Rockefeller Center at night. The view of New York City was incredible.”
Senior Sydney Zenk was also impressed with Rockefeller Center. “That was my most memorable moment. As we were looking on New York City from the top of the center, I just thought about how blessed I am and how blessed all of us are that we got such an amazing opportunity, especially being from such a small school. It’s not very often super small schools can afford a trip like we had, but it made us all realize how much we have and how grateful we should be.”
Staff members Paulette Grube, Lori Stricherz, and Matt Lagerstrom also accompanied the group. “Most of what we saw was new to me, so sharing that experience with students was great,” stated Grube. “Our trip was titled ‘Grant-Deuel Educational Adventure’. What better way to learn than to experience it. We learned so much about the history of our nation. Our students made it enjoyable because they were patient, considerate of each other, and always punctual.”
Stricherz said, “I greatly enjoyed watching the kids learning about our country, our history, and how the news is made. It meant a great deal to me to be able to go on this trip with the kids, because I think it was a trip of a lifetime. We showed the kids so many things and places that are very different from where they live. There is another world outside of here, and we had the joy of showing them a glimpse of it.”
Lagerstrom said, “Schools need to travel in order to bring what we are doing in the classroom to the world. For so many people within this region, travel is not something that is commonly done. We get the feeling that life on the Upper Plains Region is how life is everywhere, and we forget there are people living elsewhere in very different circumstances. Being able to support this trip was a great honor because it helped bring our part of the world a little “light” from the outside and it helped to show the students that while our part of the world has a great deal of good, there are also some areas for improvement.”
Other students in the district are also taking trips to conclude the school year. Students in grades 3-5 are on a four-night/five-day South Dakota history trip. Each has one parent as a chaperone. The group will take in famous South Dakota sites such as the Mitchell Corn Palace and the Capitol Building in Pierre. The tour includes sites around Rapid City including Mount Rushmore, mines, the science labs, Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, Cosmos, Thunder Gold Mine, Crazy Horse, Jewel Cave, Mammoth Site, Wind Cave, and Hill City. They will also visit the Badlands, Wall Drug, and the historical walk at Deadwood.
Kindergarten through second grade students will wrap up their school year with day drips to the zoo in Wahpeton, North Dakota and the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.
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