During our recent Spring break, Dana Middle School organized an 8th grade student trip to visit Washington D.C. and New York City. I was one of the 40 students along with a few teachers and chaperones to visit our nation’s Capital (including the White House) and the Big Apple.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – A memorable Spring Break Trip in DC and NYC By Vick Liu (8th Grader at Dana Middle School) – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – The trip that was intriguing, educating, and fun will be memorized probably for my entire lifetime. I honestly learned more than I ever could have imagined and took home with me a vast amount of knowledge that I believe will benefit me for years to come. In this trip I had many fun experiences, yet there were numerous solemn ones. This trip gave me an opportunity to explore our capital and learn about all the sacrifices that the American people have given to preserve the freedom that we, especially young students, take for granted every day.
We left from Dana Middle school to the airport on Friday night, March 30, 2012. For most of us, it was the first time to travel alone without parents. There was an air of excitement as we left and we had a size-able sum of time away from our parent’s jurisdiction. The bus ride went by within a blink and soon we were on the plane to Washington D.C. Our plane flight was one that spanned overnight, also dubbed as a “red eye.” Mrs. Sanchez, our teacher, has already recommended that we get as much sleep as possible, but nobody ever did.
The first day in Washington D.C. was probably the most exhausting. We were able to visit numerous monuments. including: the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, FDR Memorial, MLK Jr. Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Korean War Memorial, etc. We also took a tour in the capitol where we were allowed to see the national statuary collection, a collection of statues of famous people, and visit the past area of where Congress would meet. When we got back to the hotel at night, everybody was too tired to say anything and we all just fell asleep for a measly five-minutes before heading down to the pool to play around in the water and soak our tired bodies in the Jacuzzi. The next day was almost identical to the first, we went to multiple tourist attractions, but the highlight of that day was visiting the White House.
Naturally, at the White House you would have to go through numerous security checks and at one of them I forgot to remove my belt so when I went through the scanner, the alarm went off and a Saxon horn started sounding. One of the security guards quickly took me over to a wall and started swiping me with a metal detector. He swiped around my body until it detected my belt. Next, he started patting me down to check if I was carrying anything else, and you have to realize that the whole class was watching me so it was astonishing to all of us. He said seriously to me: “You are under arrest.” While I was totally shocked there for a minute, he looked at me with a smile and said, “Son, are you from Dana?” I nervously answered a quick yes and was a little on edge until he explained that he made a joke since he had graduated from First Avenue Middle School (a neighboring middle school in the area) and had noticed my jacket printed with Dana Middle School’s name.
The second half or the relaxed portion of the trip, as I called it, was in New York City. We had a couple of chances to go shopping and the zenith of the trip was probably when we went to China Town to do some bargaining. There, we were left to wander (but with adult supervision) around the streets going from store to store, looking at items, and bargaining for them like a vagabond. I was lucky enough to lower the price of a $15 dollar T-shirt down to $10 and a pair of $15 sunglasses to only $6 with only a couple minutes of “training” that our teacher had given us. What made China Town the highlight of the trip wasn’t the shopping, but the freedom we were given to buy whatever we wanted and the burst of adrenaline that bargaining gave us. Every time we made a successful deal we could feel a certain rush that could not be replaced.
During our time in NYC my group was also able to visit the famous Ellis Island, an island where all immigrants had to go through in order to earn their American Citizenship, and the 9/11 Memorial. In Ellis Island we saw the numerous rooms that would house the sick, rooms where medical examinations would take place, and rooms where there would be an extremely long line for immigrants to get questioned. We also saw how it developed from being a fort to a bustling immigration center. In the 9/11 Memorial, we visited the two areas where that the twin towers had been located and saw the World Trade Center and the four other buildings surrounding it being built.
In conclusion, the Washington D.C. and NYC trip was one that can never be re-created for me again. I was able to witness many great tourist attractions and had my first chance at bargaining. In addition, friendships were developed and strengthened among students and teachers. At the end of the trip the students complained about their reluctance in coming home, but we all knew that we were not meant to stay. It was truly an extraordinary experience for all the students that participated.