Student Travel Groups Heading to Washington D.C.: What’s New?

For teachers seeking to provide their students with an invigorating, immersive, and comprehensive exposure to art, culture, history, and just about anything else, Washington D.C. is the place to be.  A student trip to Washington D.C. is one of the gold standards of educational travel. Student travel groups have a range of famous landmarks at their fingertips, from Ford’s Theater to Arlington National Cemetery to the Library of Congress to the quaint hustle and bustle of Georgetown. There is something for everyone in this great city, and its liveliness makes for a one-of-a-kind experience that makes learning fun, exciting, and revelatory.

For students studying history, the city is nothing short of an invaluable resource.  Seeing everything could take weeks. For student tour groups on limited schedules, a focused itinerary for a three or four day tour works best.

The list of sites to see is growing now that Washington D.C. has added some new war memorials, a site dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a branch of the Smithsonian that focuses on African American History. Students who visit these places will gain a broader understanding of American history.

The World War II Memorial, on 17th Street between Constitution and Independence Avenues, is surrounded by the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and combines beautiful architecture with many moving testaments to those who participated in one of the 20th century’s greatest epochs. At the crossroads of these three great attractions, students will get an acute and unforgettable sense of the nation’s past. Featuring the famous “Rainbow Pool” and an its mingling fountains, the memorial is open from 9 am until 11:45 pm, and the National Park Service provides guided tours every hour, on the hour, from 10 am -11pm. Teachers can search the computerized World War II registry for information, and use the material to prepare students for this trip with advance lessons in the classroom.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, at 1964 Independence Avenue on the National Mall is a special address because the street number refers to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The MLK Memorial is a highly unique structure designed, like all of Washington’s memorials, to draw the spectator into a uniquely “hands-on” historical experience. Students can stroll the grounds, which are flanked by an abundance of cherry blossom trees and crepe myrtles, and read stone-etched inscriptions from the “I Have a Dream” speech.  The statue of Dr King itself, as massive and awe-inspiring as the Lincoln Memorial, is almost Egyptian/Sphinxlike in scope.  Visiting this new memorial to an American dedicated to the advancement of civil rights is a must for any group studying African American history and its historical and contemporary impact on the world we live in.

On the same topic, the Smithsonian Museum of African Natural History just had its groundbreaking ceremony in February of 2012, and is scheduled to officially open in 2013. The Museum of African Natural History has exhibits that are presently housed on the second floor of the National Museum of American History. From their current exhibition, “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty” to their upcoming show, ”The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963” (slated to debut in December 2012), the Museum provides a comprehensive and essential overview of African American life down through the generations, from music to sports to arts and politics. Many have been anticipating the opening of this new Smithsonian Museum where African American culture and tradition is highlighted.

Like New York City, Washington D.C. is a city that can be regarded as one of “the crossroads of the world.” There is no end to the varieties of experiences here, whether a student group is touring its many ethnic neighborhoods, dining at a variety of wonderful restaurants, touring the museums, memorials or the Capital and White House, or just steeping themselves in its atmosphere and energy in general. Teachers and student groups have loved the U.S. Capital city for all of its history, government, culture, dining and entertainment and it’s splendid architecture and memorials.

Request a Quote for a Student trip to NYC today.

High School Orchestra Takes Performance Trip to New York City

Deb Wesoloski has been the Orchestra Director at Berea High School in Berea, Ohio, for 25 years. As an enthusiastic, popular teacher who is passionate about music and loves to introduce her students to new cities and influences, she has always tried to make travel a part of her curriculum. Wesoloski believes education should be hands-on, interactive, and as multifaceted as possible. So, she takes her student musicians on tour every three years.  In March of 2011, the group traveled to New York City, where they had the privilege and thrill of performing at the United Nations headquarters.

Student Trip Includes United Nations Performance
“The UN was by far the best venue we’ve ever played on a tour,” said Wesoloski. “This has been our favorite destination ever! We performed a variety of selections, from standard classics by Tchaikovsky to contemporary/popular favorites like Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida’” and Green Day’s “21 Guns”. We learned our music in nine weeks, or about one school quarter. The students had the opportunity to see new sights and to perform for an audience outside our district, which always brings out very positive reactions. Students were excited that many audience members videotaped our performance.” The whole experience gave students a feeling of ambition and adventure, and gave them a taste of what life as a professional orchestral musician in the big city could be like.


Student Tour Sites in NYC

The group visited a range of New York’s world-famous landmarks: the Empire State Building, NBC Headquarters, Chinatown, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They also took a trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and attended a performance of the Broadway musical “Phantom of the Opera”. The legendary lights of Broadway, the hustle of the big city, and the experience of being up close to the performers was unforgettable. New York worked its magic on the group. “We chose these places because they were all diverse and had cultural and historical points of interest all the students could enjoy and learn about,” said Wesoloski. “New York has something for everybody, and I wanted the students to be able to soak it all up and get as much as they could out of it, which they did,” she added.

Post Trip Wrap Up at School
Upon their return, Wesoloski’s students had extended discussions about their trip, comparing impressions and reliving and reevaluating their adventure through the lens of their new knowledge and experience. Their photos and accounts of the trip were posted in school publications, making the whole enterprise into a multimedia project that could be shared with everyone. Many of the students seemed changed by the experience, increasingly compelled to pursue their dreams and their potential as musicians—which, of course, was exactly what Wesoloski hoped the trip to New York City would inspire.


Having a Tour Guide Who Works Well With Musicians

“Our experience was excellent,” Wesoloski said. “Our tour guide was superb and knew the city inside and out, and made sure set-up of the performance went perfectly smoothly.” The guide had answers to every question they asked, and her expertise and enthusiasm made the whole trip an exciting whirlwind and a pleasure. No stone was left unturned. “It was everything we’d hoped it would be,” said Wesoloski.
Visit www.EducationalTravelConsultants.com to request a quote for a student trip.