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History comes to life for Sacred Hearts students during dream trip to the Mainland

By Staff | Nov 20, 2014

While visiting the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the students had a chance encounter with World War II veterans who were in Washington, D.C., as part of the Honor Flight Network program.

LAHAINA – Imagine going on a field trip for ten days on the Mainland. That’s just what the seventh and eighth grade students of Sacred Hearts School did as part of their American history class. They experienced places that they had only read about in textbooks or seen online. This was an opportunity to be where the history took place and to walk in the footsteps of people from long ago.

After flying all night to Washington, D.C., students began their trip by visiting Jamestown Settlement and Jamestown Rediscovery. Here they saw the ruins of the original Jamestown colony, and then they were able to explore the recreated settlement and Powhatan village. While visiting the village, they learned how to make clothing from animal hides and play games just like the Powhatan Indians did. They boarded the recreated ships, visited the fort and became familiar with 18th century farming practices.

From there, Sacred Hearts students journeyed to Williamsburg. There the students learned about the beginning of representational government in the American colonies. They were able to experience the beginnings of revolution while they walked among such historical icons as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. They saw 18th century medical facilities and became acquainted with the fashion of Colonial Williamsburg.

By far, the most exciting part of Virginia’s Historic Triangle was the visit to Yorktown. Aside from experiencing the British surrender to Washington, the students experienced farm life. They learned about growing and raising food, as well as how food was preserved. Students explored an average family home, and became more grateful for the many amenities that we have today. While there, students were also able to practice their cannon loading and firing skills, and then visited with a battlefield doctor. (This also made the children very thankful for what they have now!)

Although exhausted from the travel and the pace, the students continued north and visited Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. As one student said, “I can’t believe I walked in his house and I saw where he was buried. I didn’t know history could actually be sort of cool!” Another Sacred Hearts scholar commented on the squirrels, outhouses and slave quarters. There were so many things to see and do at Mount Vernon, and each student came away with a new appreciation for the Father of our Country.

At Jamestown Settlement and Jamestown Rediscovery, students saw the ruins of the original Jamestown colony and explored the recreated settlement and Powhatan village.

When the seventh- and eighth-graders visited Washington, D.C., they saw the usual sites that one would visit upon a trip to our nation’s capitol. However, while exploring the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial, the students had a chance encounter with World War II veterans who were also in D.C. as part of the Honor Flight Network program.

It was one thing to hear about this great president and learn about the war through his actions, but it was an altogether different experience to see it through the eyes of those who fought there as young men. Speaking with the veterans gave the Sacred Hearts students a new understanding and appreciation for the many sacrifices that had been made on their behalf so long before their births.

Another moving experience for the Sacred Hearts students was participating in the Laying of the Wreath ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Dakota Delos Reyes, Isabella Lallo, Hannah Sheveland and Grace Devane were briefed by soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment who serve as honor guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ladies then were placed in formation and laid the wreath. Each Sacred Hearts student stood in reverent silence while a soldier played “Taps” as part of the ceremony.

In addition to the many monuments and museums in Washington, D.C., Sacred Hearts students also attended mass at the national Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, followed by a tour by a monsignor at the basilica.

The last part of the trip took the Sacred Hearts students farther north. They toured the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and walked through Washington’s winter encampment at Valley Forge.

The last city to be visited was New York City. The students took a walking tour through Central Park, then explored the various ethnic neighborhoods. They walked down Fifth Avenue and explored Times Square. As part of the trip, the students of Sacred Hearts also went to see the Broadway show “Aladdin.”

Exhausted, full of stories and memories, and eager to see their parents, the students finally made it home. Now they are planning to share their memories and stories with the fifth- and sixth-graders who will be the next group to travel in 2016.