On April 25, the Draper Middle School History Club embarked on a jam-packed three-day trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. The 27 students were accompanied by six parent chaperones and club advisor Mark Di Cocco, a social studies teacher at the middle school.
Mr. DiCocco said during the trip, students had opportunities to see and experience much of what they learn as part of the seventh- and eighth-grade social studies curriculum.
“On the first day of the trip the group visited the Gettysburg Battlefield Museum and National Park,” said DiCocco. “Students viewed key sites where the three-day Battle of Gettysburg took place and learned how it became the turning point of the American Civil War.”
With two days in Washington D.C., students visited several monuments and memorials including those honoring Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.
This is the fifth time the History Club has visited Washington D.C, the first visit being in 2006 with teacher advisors Dale Wade Keszey (retired) and Mr. DiCocco. Over the years the club has crossed paths with prominent political figures such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, and Senator John McCain.
Students were also to see the White House and take a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building, according to DiCocco.
“Those who attended this year’s trip enjoyed being able to see and experience things that they had only seen on TV or read about in textbooks,” said DiCocco. “While at the Capitol, students caught a glimpse of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as he walked by the group on his way to a meeting.”
During their tour of Washington, the group also spent time visiting the Smithsonian museums of Natural History, American History, and the Air and Space Museum.
Students also spent time at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
“It was a sobering visit to arguably one of the best museums in the world,” said DiCocco.
Before returning to the Capital Region, the middle school group toured Arlington National Cemetery, where students viewed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, saw the monument to the U.S.S. Maine and visited the grave of President John F. Kennedy. They concluded their adventure with a viewing of the iconic U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, also located in Arlington.