Monticello students, parents take in the East Coast

While at the Capitol in Washington D.C., the group had the opportunity to meet Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst. The senators stayed to chat and answer questions the group had for them.

The group posed for a photo in Times Square in downtown New York City. There were a total of 27 kids and 13 adults who went on the trip to the East Coast. (Photos submitted)

The East Coast trip took place from June 11-16. The group had three major stops including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City. The Statue of Liberty was one of the many historical sites they were able to visit and learn more about.
Hannah Gray
Express Intern

     On June 11, 27 students, grades seventh through ninth, and 13 chaperones left Monticello for a trip to the East Coast to visit some of the most historical landmarks in America.

     Since 2009, middle school students have had the opportunity to take an organized trip to the East Coast, thanks to Monticello Middle School teacher Laura Schmitt. Schmitt has arranged seven different trips, open to students and their parents.

     “Everything these kids do on this trip is a first for most of them and it’s an experience they’ll remember forever,” Schmitt said.

     This year, the group went to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City. This was the first year Schmitt added Philadelphia to the list of cities the group would visit. She enjoys adding new places to the itinerary so she has the opportunity to visit new sites as well.

     The trip is arranged by the company World Strides. They plan the itinerary each day and provide security so the trip is organized and safe.

     The students and parents sign up in the spring, a year before the trip so those who would like to fundraise are able to. Yankee Candles, Pizza Ranch coupons, and concession stands were a few ways the group was able to make money this year.           

     Upcoming freshman Grant Hospodarsky was one of the students who decided to go on the trip to the East Coast alongside his father, Monticello High School Todd Hospodarsky.

      The two agreed the trip was both educational and recreational. Grant was impressed by the “Top of the Rock” observatory in Manhattan, N.Y., while Todd enjoyed meeting a squad of Green Berets near Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

     Todd had previously gone on this trip as a chaperone with his older son, Tyler. A few noticeable differences between the two trips were the opening of the 9/11 Museum and, instead of going to Philadelphia they went to Jamestown, Va. He also mentioned the amount of security at the White House has increased immensely.

     The group flew into Washington, D.C. and stayed for three days. While visiting, they had the chance to tour the Capitol and meet Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst. The senators stayed for about 20 minutes to answer questions from the group.

     “I think it makes the government more realistic to the kids,” Schmitt commented about the tour and the meet and greet.

     The itinerary had to be adjusted in Washington, D.C. because of the parade, celebrating the National Hockey League team, the Washington Capitals, for winning the Stanley Cup Championship. The parade brought in tens of thousands of people.

     “Laura and the tour guide did a really good job with that, because there was thousands of people where we were supposed to go and they had to reshuffle everything,” Todd said.

     The group had a coach bus that transported them around Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. In New York City, they walked and used the subway and city buses. The Hospodarskys mentioned how one of the city buses even broke down while the group was on it.

     “It’s an amazing opportunity and everyone who has the chance should definitely do it,” Grant said.



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