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Princeton, New Jersey

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Washington, D.C. signature experience provides priceless education for eighth grade students

Washington, D.C. signature experience provides priceless education for eighth grade students

Last week our eighth grade students enjoyed an exciting and memorable three day experience in Washington D.C. This signature experience helps give life and meaning to many of the Goals and Criteria of the Sacred Heart for our students. It was an opportunity for our girls to connect with the history of our country and with each other.

The first stop of the trip was NASA where students heard from a panel of female scientists. They learned about some of the current projects that NASA is working on but more importantly, they heard first hand about the struggles and successes of five phenomenal females in STEM. The scientists, who ranged in age and experience from college interns spending their fall semester at NASA to Dr. Aprille Ericsson, a highly accomplished aerospace engineer, shared their perspectives and their encouragement with our Stuart girls on the importance of perseverance.

Next, the students headed to Arlington National Cemetery, where four of our students, Trinity Broughton, Caroline Bednar, Caroline Johnson, and Eshe Lovely took part in the wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. Many students shared that this was one of the most meaningful parts of the trip for them. Yvonne Wang shared, "The aura (during the changing of the guard) is very somber ... I feel a deep respect for the guards."

Watch a video of the wreath laying ceremony below.

The day was topped off by a Night Tour of the Washington Monuments. Several students found the guided tour to be a wonderful experience to make viewing the monuments more informative. Many of the eighth graders commented on the grandeur of the Lincoln and MLK monuments. It was quite impressive how many students made connections from the quotes along the FDR Monument and the facts they had learned while visiting the FDR National Historic Site during their Spring overnight in seventh grade.

On day two, the students visited the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Capitol Building before splitting into three groups to visit a museum of their choice. They were even able to squeeze in a quick visit to the Vietnam War Memorial. Many of the students shared how they appreciated being allowed to travel and view exhibits in either the National Air & Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, or the National Museum of American History at their leisure with their peers and that they felt a sense of trust and responsibility that they have not necessarily felt before. The day wrapped up with an "Acoustic Sunset" concert by our very own Mr. Berman followed by an evening of Dinner and Dancing on the Potomac with Spirit Cruises. The students met and mingled with students from other schools but really this event was a bonding experience that our girls will forever look back on with fondness.

Day three started early with a tour of the Fredrick Douglas House followed by a visit to the Newseum. In contrast to some of the traditional and reverent sites that were explored on Wednesday and Thursday, Isa Dugan shared that she "loved the Newseum because it had modern exhibits and it was highly interactive and enjoyable."

The Washington D.C. trip is truly a wonderful signature experience for our eighth grade students.

Special thanks to Kevin Broughton for sharing his photos and video.

See photos from the trip in the gallery or in the slideshow below.

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