About 40 Second Street School eighth grade students visited the nation's capital last week.
The school tries to have an annual trip for eighth grade students at the end of the school year, said teacher Heather Snodgrass. In the past, the school has sponsored trips to Atlanta and Indianapolis. She added that students typically vote on their destination, but retiring Principal Dr. Dewey Hensley chose Washington, D.C., this year.
The trip started on May 31 and ended June 4. Three teachers and three parents accompanied the students, who took a charter bus and rode about nine hours through the night to reach their destination.
On the way to Washington, the group stopped at Colonial Williamsburg in southeast Virginia. In Washington, students were able to visit iconic sites such as the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and the Smithsonian museums. The students also went to the memorials of American wars, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial. Snodgrass said the group walked about 26 miles during their travels.
One place that a few students found memorable was the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where the group spoke with two Holocaust survivors. Lily Effron, one of the students who went on the trip and who is Jewish, said the experience was an impactful moment for her.
"That was really hard for me ... . There were really graphic pictures," Effron said. She recalled one photo, which was about the size of a chalkboard, of a fire pit where Holocaust victims were burned.
At first, some students said they were not sure about going to the nation's capital for their eighth grade trip but decided to go because it was going to be one of the last things they would do as classmates before becoming freshmen at Frankfort High School. Looking back, they really enjoyed the trip and were glad to have the opportunity.
Brooklyn Taylor, one of the students who went on the trip, said it helped the students become more mature while also growing together as friends. She said that for her, the trip made her notes from history class "come off the page."
"I felt like I had more of an experience," she said, comparing previous destinations like Atlanta to Washington, D.C. To be in historic places and hear about them first-hand was interesting to her.