By Anna Truong ’16
Since 2000, the Gilder Lehrman program has enabled students to explore history through four different electives and an annual trip to Washington D.C, free of charge. This year, the trip took place from May 18 to May 19.
“The trip was a lot of fun,” said Shruti Singh ’15. “We went to many memorials and museums, and we learned a lot while we were there.”
Robert Cheong ’15 said, “The trip was exciting. It gave me a chance to explore another city and provided a much-needed break from school.”
Students left for Washington by bus at around noon on May 18. At 4pm, they stopped for dinner at the Golden Corral, where they enjoyed an endless buffet of various foods. Afterwards, they went back on the road and arrived at their final destination at 6:30 pm. Students had the opportunity to take tours around the Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, World War 2, Korean War, and Vietnam War memorials.
“The most memorable part of the trip was when we saw the Vietnam War Memorial,” said Singh. “It captured the atmosphere perfectly. There was lightning in the sky and the walls were warm and lit up by the dim lights on the floor.”
At 10:30 pm, students arrived at the hotel where they were booked and got some rest before the start of another day. The next day, everyone was up at 7 am and out by 8 am. They visited the Air and Space Museum, the American History Museum, and the Holocaust Museum.
“The Holocaust Museum was memorable,” said Singh. “It was nicely built with interactive parts and simplistic text displays.”
Students got back onto the bus at around 4 pm and arrived at Midwood at 8:45 pm.
Many of those who attended the trip found new information at every place they visited.
“I definitely think this was an educational trip,” said Sarah Epelman ’15. “We get to have hands on experience with topics we talked about in class and read about in textbooks. It engages the students and actually makes us pay attention to what we’re talking about.”
Since the financial crisis of 2008, funding from the Gilder Lehrman program has reduced and eventually stopped. For students to enjoy such an experience free of charge, Mr. Matthew Bonavita does fundraising.
“I think it’s really amazing that teachers did fundraising because it shows that the teachers really care about and value our education,” said Epelman. “They put in all this effort for us to go away for two days for free. That’s commendable.”
Cheong said, “It really is great because it shows that teachers are looking for the best for their students.”
Mr. Bonavita holds a fundraiser at a bar where he invites former Gilder Lehrman students, Midwood faculty, and former Midwood faculty. Last year he raised more than seven thousand dollars.
“It’s lots of fun,” said Mr. Jeffrey Schneider. “We see our friends, and we see all these past students. A lot of kids are in contact with each other and a lot of them come. We go to the bar, we eat chicken and they have hot sauce and we drink and have a nice day.”