8th Grade Goes to Washington

8th Grade Goes to Washington

University School of Milwaukee’s 8th grade students recently participated in the pinnacle event of their Middle School experience: A week-long trip to Washington, D.C. The annual trip is a chance for 8th graders to see first-hand many of the city’s memorials, museums, and artifacts, concepts, and historical events they have been studying for the past year in their 8th grade American History class taught by Chuck Taft. The trip also ties in to other subject areas as well, including English and science classes.

The week, which served as the 8th grade retreat, was packed with activities and excursions to landmarks specific to Washington, D.C., like the American History Museum, the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum, the U.S. Capitol, Ford’s Theatre, the National Mall Monument Tour, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Mount Vernon. Some were serious and somber, like visits to the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Arlington National Cemetery, while others were more relaxed, like an evening ghost tour and a dinner and dancing cruise on the Potomac River.  

Retreats are an integral part of USM’s Middle School and Upper School experiences. While the locations and activities vary amongst grade levels, all retreats are designed to build community, foster leadership, and provide safe spaces where students can take risks and push themselves.

Many thanks to all who volunteered their time and dedication to making the Washington, D.C. trip a safe and memorable experience for students, including the parent volunteer chaperones and USM’s 8th grade team: Sue Beaty, Nicola De Torre, Shannon Peters, Ivana Renteria, Jason Strains, and Chuck Taft.

Student stand outside while listening to their American history teacher, Chuck Taft
A group of students stand in front of a vintage airplane on display at a museum
A group of students take a photo at an outdoor memorial
A group of students stand in front of a vintage airplane on display at a museum
Students watch a changing of the guards ceremony
Students pose in front of the U.S. Capitol building
Students pose in front of a sculpture of the American flag
Students pose for a photo at a war memorial
Students pose for a photo at the White House
A group of students stand in front of a large monument to Martin Luther King, Jr.