Recently 47 juniors and seniors along with 13 adult chaperones from Lodi Academy went on a United States History Tour led by our history teacher Tom Larsen. This is a biannual event that students from Lodi Academy look forward to.
The 13-day trip started in Boston, the location of the beginnings of the American Revolution. They walked the Freedom Trail, visited the U.S.S. Constitution Museum and saw the Boston Massacre Site. They spent a meaningful half-day at John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Library.
From there they went off to New York City where they got to see landmark sites like Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, Times Square and Grand Central Station, to name a few. They also made a stop at the Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial. The students also had the opportunity to see “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway and do some shopping.
From New York City they headed off to Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. After an eloquent docent-guided tour of Independence Hall, where our Constitution was drafted, the students went to see the Liberty Bell. In Lancaster, Pa. they visited an Amish farm and country store. After fascinating visit to the Gettysburg Visitors Center in Gettysburg, they took a docent-guided tour of the battlefield.
The last seven days of the tour were spent in the Washington, D.C. area. They went to places like Mount Vernon, the White House, and our National Capitol. They paid respects to our nation’s greatest at Arlington National Military Cemetery and witness the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The students visited many of the National Monuments and Memorials, the Library of Congress, the Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian, to name a few.
They also got to see the amazing Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. After a tour of the facility they attended the ballet “Swan Lake,” performed by the New York City Symphony and Ballet Company. The students also enjoyed the opportunity to witness a demonstration outside of the Supreme Court building and stand with the demonstrators, soaking in the energy of those who have a passion for what government is doing or not doing. What a powerful experience to stand right alongside the group, who were holding placards and chanting.
Many students, when asked to describe the tour, said it was “the most amazing, awesome and unforgettable historical adventure.” Their favorite Smithsonian museums were the Natural History Museum and the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.
After such a trip, students show much more interest in U.S. government and U.S. history classes, since they have seen the buildings and visited many of the sites where our history has been made. Having actually gone into the congressional chambers where our lawmakers work also makes what happens currently a reality.
This is a tour that these students will cherish forever.
Tom Larsen teaches U.S. history, A.P. U.S. history and U.S. government at Lodi Academy, and submitted this story about their annual trip.