PHOTO: The group of students takes a minute to pose for a picture while touring Washington, D.C. (Photos courtesy of Laura Guilford)
PHOTO: The boys (from L to R) Cameron McDonald, Tyler Hospodarsky, Carter Bronemann and Andrew Tjaden strike a pose with some Revolutionary War performers at the Twilight Tattoo pageant.
By Emily Burds, Express Intern
Six days, four cities; one trip. Twenty-five seventh, eighth and ninth grade students have returned from their week long adventure to the East Coast and can’t stop talking about it.
“This was my second time and it was just as good as the first, ” said ninth grader Carter Bronemann who went on the trip two years ago as a seventh grader. This was the fourth year this program has been offered, organized by Middle School teacher Ms. Laura Guilford. The students used a variety of ways to fundraise the money for this trip over the past year, which included car washes, bake sales, and roller blading nights.
Guilford explains that this trip is not a school trip but something that is set up through an educational tour company, which she is able to offer. This year’s trip was an expansion from the past years’ as students not only explored the Big Apple and our nation’s capital but also got to see where it all started in Jamestown and Williamsburg.
“Twilight Tattoo was probably our favorite part,” explained Carter’s younger sister, Shalay Bronemann. As odd as the name sounds, this program is actually a military pageant put on by what is known as the Army’s “Old Guard” or the 3rd Infantry Regiment with the help of the Army Band and Army vocalists. This concert, held on the grounds of Fort Myer, Va., helps explain the history of the U.S. military through song and reenactments of America’s wars. Following the performance, the students got the privilege of meeting with some of the soldiers who help put on the pageant and were given an up close view of the guns and cannons that would have been used in revolutionary times.
“It is my hope that students can see and feel history and develop a better understanding and appreciation for it,” Laura Guilford said of why she thinks this trip is important. “For many it is their first time traveling very far away from Monticello.”
The Bronemann kids and their classmates seemed to have no problem with leaving home. “We were all just really excited,” Shalay explained.
With so much to see in such a short amount of time, the group of kids plus their 12 parent chaperones were kept on their toes.
“The only bad part was having to get up at six in the morning to get going,” Carter explained. Both agreed that they were always going somewhere but didn’t mind it too much.
“The tour guides were really good about keeping us on time and getting us where we needed to be,” Shalay said. “I don’t know if it would have been as much fun if we didn’t have the guides because there was so much to see and we wouldn’t have known what to do if we were by ourselves.”
The Bronemann family turned the trip into a sort-of family vacation as both mom, Shelley, and dad, Brian went along as chaperones. Brian had taken Carter on his previous trip but this was Shelley’s first time.
“She really liked it. She hadn’t been there before so it was cool to have her come along,” Carter said.
Since it was an educational trip, the kids were guaranteed to learn a lot. Both Bronemann kids said they didn’t even know where to start with all they learned but both agreed that getting to see the things that they had seen on television for so many years up close was a real treat.
“We went to the Top of the Rock in New York and we got to see the ball they drop on New Year’s Eve,” Shalay said. “It looks so big on TV but it’s actually not.”
When they weren’t exploring the subway system in New York, they got to walk the halls of the Smithsonians in D.C. and see the many monuments that cover the city. Carter said he was especially intrigued with the Aerospace museum.
“This trip gives kids a chance to experience many things and see important cities in the U.S. They are able to go places that some of their parents have never been and that some of them may not get a chance to go again,” Guilford said.
And now having caught the travel bug, the Bronemann kids said they would love to go again. They both agreed that the school should keep offering the trip because of how much they learned and how much fun it is. “We would definitely tell kids to go,” Shalay said.
Students who attended the trip were Abbey Beem, Shalay Bronemann, Carter Bronemann, Courtney Campell, Sami Fritz, Paige Holub, Tyler Hospodarksy, Krista Jackson, Savanah Kremer, Lauren Kurt, Emily Kurt, Madison Lambert, Rileigh Lambert, Rachel Larabee, Ryan Manternach, Cameron McDonald, Andrew Monck, Ryan Oswald, Jordyn Patterson, Cassidy Russell, Grace Taylor, Andrew Tjaden, Kate Tuetken, Kiley Wall, and Jessi Welter.
Chaperones who attended were Shelley and Brian Bronemann, Staci Fritz, Deb and Laura Guilford, Todd Hospodarsky, Philip Larabee, Carrie Manternach, Patti Monck, Dean Oswald, Jennifer Tuetken, and Jamie Whittington.
PHOTO: With only one bad day of weather while in New York, the group of students and parents pose for a group picture in the middle of Times Square.