By Wendy Kulick for The Island Connection
Three Smithsonian museums, the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Capitol, six memorials, a 3D movie about lemurs and their unique habitat, a tour of Ford’s Theatre followed by a play about President Lincoln’s assassination, and the Holocaust Museum—all in less than four days. These were just some of the places in our nation’s capital fifth graders from John’s Island’s Mt. Zion Elementary School had the opportunity to see between Monday, May 19 and Thursday, May 22.
This jam-packed, exciting trip enabled the history and science they have been studying for the past two years come alive for the 24 students. An especially poignant part of the trip was the visit to the World War II Memorial, where students had the opportunity to speak with individual veterans of World War II and learn first hand about their experiences.
Perhaps the most moving experience was during the visit to the Holocaust Museum, listening to Jacques Fein, Maryla Orgel Korn, and Halina Asharoff Peabody describe their experiences as survivors of the Nazis occupation of their countries, France and Poland. Their lives were upended when the Nazis forced them to be separated from their parents. All three of them were infants or toddlers when, through the kindness of strangers, they were kept safe from deportation to concentration camps.
Although exhausted after four long, busy days, the students all felt this was a trip they would always remember.
The Washington, DC visit has become a tradition for graduating fifth graders at Mt. Zion. It was especially gratifying to hear all the compliments the children received at almost every place they went. They were well behaved, interested in what we were seeing and hearing, and asked relevant questions.
Everyone returned home safe, sound and totally exhausted—children and chaperones alike. We will all remember what a special four days we spent together and I doubt the students will ever forget this hands-on learning experience. This trip would not have been possible without the generosity of Kiawah and Seabrook property owners’ contributions and the fundraising events the students held during the year.