DeKalb MS Students Tour Nation’s Capital

posted Apr 14, 2014, 8:41 AM by webmaster district   [ updated Apr 14, 2014, 8:42 AM ]


Students from DeKalb Middle School meet with with Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., for a photo outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon. They also met with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.. The students were visiting Washington during spring break.

WATERLOO — DeKalb Middle School teacher Ryan Lengacher chuckled as he related some of the comments he received from eighth-graders who joined him on a spring break trip to Washington, D.C., in the past week.

While some of the students might have started on the trip with a preference for a beach vacation in Florida, they returned with an appreciation for history and government, all the while having fun and even taking in some shopping, Lengacher said.

“Every year I have students who say it’s more fun than they thought it would be,” Lengacher said. “The eighth-graders love it.”

This year’s trip marked the 11th Lengacher has made with a group of DeKalb Middle School students. But the spring break tradition goes back more than 30 years, with other former teachers having led the group, Lengacher added.

Classic Tours of Auburn planned the itinerary for the four-day visit. A group of 45 students and nine adults left DeKalb County on buses on the night of April 4. The next morning they arrived in Gettysburg, Pa., where they enjoyed a battlefield tour and time in the visitors center. After lunch, the group departed for Washington. That night they visited the Vietnam and Korean war memorials.

The next three days were crammed with activities including a tour of Arlington Cemetery, where the students observed the changing of the guard and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony; tours of the Washington monuments and memorials; visiting the Holocaust Museum and Smithsonian Museums; a tour of the Capitol rotunda; and meetings and group pictures with Indiana Sens. Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly and Rep. Marlin Stutzman. A highlight of the trip was an evening dinner dance and cruise on the Potomac.

“They (eight-graders) are just starting to get their appreciation for government,” Lengacher said.“They are just starting to get the idea.”

Lengacher said meeting senators and congressmen and seeing government in action in the nation’s capital helps to develop their appreciation for “having a say” in government.

Article from The Star on Thursday, April 10, 2014 ~ BY KATHRYN BASSETT