Students having fun in front of the Capitol Building. From left to right: Cheyenne Palmer, Jordan Berry, Trent Swallow, Austin Coward, Leah Kimball, Caleb Mitchell, Julia Head, Molly Pereira, Ella Tilsley, Nolan Fowles, Tanner Martin, Kyle Locklin.  Photo by Norman Greenberg

 

Students examine various rock samples as part of a Geology Lab at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. From left to right: Katie Evans, Macie Hallett, Kristen Powell and Cody Markham.  Photo by Norman Greenberg

 

BETHEL — The majority of Telstar’s Freshman Class traveled to Washington D.C. at the end of March.

Students stayed at a National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md. The center was formerly a women’s college.

The trip was connected to the current units students are studying, including astronomy, social studies and art. They visited the Air and Space Museum,  the Supreme Court, the U.S. Capitol and the Renwick Gallery, which is a section of the Smithsonian Art Museum.

Students also visited the zoo, the Library of Congress, the Natural History Museum, took tours of the monuments and walked past the White House.

“A lot of it is directly connected with the curriculum and some of it’s just where the mind is opened by experience,” 4-H Professional Educator Norman Greenberg said. “Some of the things kids learn has nothing to do with what places we’re going, it’s just experiencing a big city, and big buildings, and more cultural diversity.”

In some of the facilities students were allowed to partner up and tour the buildings together, giving them more sense of responsibility and independence.

Greenberg said each class trip has had more independence and freedom as the year has progressed.

Another big highlight of the trip was having students meet with Congressman Jared Golden and Senator Angus King.

“We think it’s really important for them to understand how their government works and the point of public education is creating good, involved and educated citizens,” Greenberg said. “It’s really important that they become familiar with the people that represent them in D.C.”

Greenberg said King and Golden spoke to students for a couple of minutes, talking about where they live, what they do and what inspired them to get involved with politics. Students then got to  ask them questions.

The students said they enjoyed the many different aspects of the trip.

“It was a really fun time, we go to go to a lot of really cool places,” Megan Cox said. “It was fun seeing all the galleries, especially the art ones. It was such a good experience.”

Tanner Martin enjoyed socializing with his classmates the most.

“My favorite part was probably hanging without my friends and the overall interactions with my peers,” Martin said. “The educational part was probably the zoo and all the animals we got to see.”

“My favorite part was probably going to the monuments at night,” Maggie Black said. “I really liked socializing with the other people, too.”

Black said she had visited Washington D.C. before, but had only seen the monuments during the day.

Greenberg said getting students to bond with one another was one of the biggest focuses with the class this year. Any time they worked on group projects throughout the year, they were usually put with different group members each time.

The class fund raised many times throughout the year to earn money for their trip.

SAD 44, Project Opportunity, Gear Up (a grant that paid for the buses) and the Matterhorn Restaurant all contributed toward the trip.

Some parents also used their connections to get prizes for a raffle the class is currently doing.

Joyce Pereira (two Red Sox tickets and various autographed memorabilia), Shanta Hoff and Sunday River,(two vouchers for lift tickets at Sunday River next season) and Thomas Herling and U.S. Rafting (two Kennebec River Whitewater Rafting trip tickets, including a barbecue lunch all helped with providing prizes.

Raffle tickets can be bought at the Telstar High School main office. Tickets are $5 for one or five for $20.

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