Here at James Madison Preparatory School, the end of the year is a fun time for our graduating seniors, but not for the reasons you may think. While graduation is an exciting time, our seniors get excited over our end-of-year trip to Washington. It is written in our school’s charter that graduating seniors get to visit historical sites on the east coast. Continue reading to learn more about our 2022 trip to Washington DC.
Our Trip to Washington DC
Part of our mission is to challenge committed students with a robust, traditional education, emphasizing America’s history and system of government. Not only do we want to teach our students about these historical events and American history, but we also want to show them. Here is the breakdown of our trip.
"The trip was amazing! I finally got to see everything I had been learning about at school in person. It also taught me skills like budgeting for food and how to use a laundry mat. I had so much fun and learned so much!" - Cassie B.
Battle of Bullrun & Manassas
Day one was a travel day and we flew into Baltimore. We then drove to Virginia, where we checked into our hotel and settled in for the night. The next morning was our first day of tours, where we got to see the battlefields from the battle of Bullrun and Manassas. We spent the morning walking the battlefields so the student could experience it. That afternoon we drove up to Orange County, Virginia where we finished the day touring James Madison's home, Montpelier.
Monticello:Thomas Jefferson’s Home
The next morning, we started our day off by touring Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. The students loved this tour and it was easily a class favorite. Once the tour was over, we made sure to go over anything that was missed. Luckily, our history teacher is very knowledgeable and can cover any key points that may have been missed on the tour. Once we finished at Monticello, we ended our day touring the Wilderness Battlefield.
Battle of Antietam & Gettysburg
The following day, we went and toured the battlefields of Antietam. There is a lot of significance in this battle as it was one of the bloodiest days in American history and was the battle that allowed Abraham Lincoln. After, we drove northeast to go and tour the battlefield of Gettysburg. This battlefield is where we spent the most time because of the history and significance of this battle. This was another favorite, as there is a great museum and plenty of activities for the students to interact with.
While touring all these battlefields is a lot of fun, there is an educational side to what students see. After we’ve finished touring a battlefield, we get together as a group and go over what we learned. This helps our students truly understand the history behind these battles and understand how they impacted our society today.
When the weekend approached, we drove into Washington DC. Because we are a history-oriented school, we require students to spend time in the National Museum of American History. This allows students to correlate everything they have learned over the course of two years. While in DC, we turn them loose to go explore what is most important to them. They have the options to go see:
Because there is so much to learn about, on the second day, we allow students to go visit what they missed on the first day. This is always one of our busiest days, but we always love seeing how much fun our students have.
"The JMPS senior trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Actually getting to go and experience the places we had discussed in class was awe-inspiring and absolutely unforgettable. It is one of the most extraordinary aspects about our school. "- Malaya K.
Mount Vernon & Arlington National Cemetery
On the final days of our trip, we visited Mount Vernon and walked the grounds there. Once we were done, we went to Arlington National Cemetery where we visited John F. Kennedy’s grave and saw the changing of guards. After that, we headed back to Baltimore and to the airport to get back home.
What Requirements Do Students Need to Meet in Order to Go?
There are only two requirements we require in order to go on this trip. Those include the $1500 payment and seniors must be on track to graduate. Once on the trip, students will receive $200 dollars back for spending money. While the price may seem high, we do try to make it affordable for parents and students. This is an opportunity for students to not just learn about history, but see it.
How This Trip Compliments Our School’s Curriculum
This is a trip for our seniors, they’ve earned this trip. Because we are a history-based school, our history class is rigorous and students need to work hard in order to earn good grades. We have high expectations, but our students do amazing work.
"The senior trip was one of the best experiences of my high school career. We were able to explore the historic sights with Mr. Sheaffer as a great guide; we were also free to wander and do things on our own. Being together as a class for 9 days is an experience I'll never forget! - Abigail S.
When they’re in history class, they’re going to learn about battlefields, but it's better to walk and experience them. It is one thing to learn in the classroom, but to go and see it for themselves is another story. History truly comes alive for our students and it is a way for us to thank them for all the hard work they’ve done over the years.
Think We’re the Right School for Your Student?
If you believe that your student would benefit from an education at James Madison Preparatory School, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, we can’t wait to hear from you.