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An enriching experience like no other

American Academy history students were just 25 of the thousands of people who visit the White House each day.


Washington, D.C. is the heart of American heritage. It is a living museum where students have walked in the footsteps of some of our great leaders. Traveling for a history trip was an enriching experience for the eighth-grade students of all three American Academy (AA) campuses.

STEM coordinator Chris Todd has expanded his flight rewards through seeking adventure alongside the students. This year’s trip was from May 6 – 10, and was a little different than past trips. Chris planned the excursion on his own, rather than using the usual tour company.

Guided tours took the history students on a journey through the nation’s past that was both educational and inspirational. Trip highlights included visits to the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. They learned the impact of President Lincoln’s assassination through a tour of the Ford Theater and paid tribute to all veterans who served and sacrificed for our country during their visits to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

The 25 students stayed at a home in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. Transportation entailed taking the Metrorail daily, lots of walking, and a boat to and from George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

“The D.C. trip was super fun and showed us a lot of history of our country. Our guide was amazing and I loved his Lincoln assassination tour. This trip helped me form some amazing friendships,” said student Kaelyn Camp.

A bonus activity at Escape Artist DC celebrated the students’ final day. Chris, with the help of the parents, incorporated each of the students’ baby photos into clues in each of the three escape rooms. One group of students successfully escaped.


The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is comprised of four outdoor rooms which stand for each of Roosevelt’s four terms. Students explored room two and the cylinders that show the positive impacts of the New Deal projects during the Great Depression.


Successful AA students outside their escape room.

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Chris Todd, American Academy



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