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   Last week, 49 eighth graders joined five teacher chaperones for the trip of a lifetime – a chance to see the sights of Washington, D.C. and Jamestown and Williamsburg in Virginia.
   Students trudged a total of 42 miles over six days, learning about the ghosts that haunt Williamsburg, eating fried chicken at the famous Michie Tavern, and mingling with real-life war veterans at Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day.

   “It was a really fun trip,” 8th grader Katherine Han said. “It was a great learning experience, and we got to spend a lot of time with our friends.”

   Students started the week at the Jamestown historic settlement, where they saw a colonial musket being fired and learned how Native Americans made fishing hooks, fabrics, and food. They then moved on to Williamsburg, where they learned about colonial life and enjoyed a candle-lit dinner at King’s Arm Tavern.

   The rain came down for the first two days of the trip, but didn’t put a damper on student spirits. After a trip to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, they toured museums by day and many of the memorials and monuments by night, including the World War II, Jefferson, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korea, Washington, Roosevelt, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorials. Students were struck by the fact that, because it was Veteran’s Day, many war heroes were touring the memorials with them.

   “It was amazing, because I kept thinking how awesome (the veterans) were because they fought for us,” 8th grader Paul Kelson said. “It made it a lot more real for me.”

   Other highlights of the trip included a dinner theater performance of the musical “Ragtime,” a visit to George Washington’s house, and trips to the Newseum, the Holocaust Museum and various Smithsonians. The Spy Museum was also a favorite among students.

   “The Spy Museum gave a detailed explanation of the pros and cons of being a spy,” student council member Nicole Pavlik said. “It seems really cool to use different gadgets and different skills in order to help your country.”

   Computer teacher Phil Ribaudo, the lead chaperone, said the trip was fantastic despite a few hiccups along the way, including a scare when the bus taking students from Pinewood to the airport showed up at school an hour and a half late.

   Ribaudo said the students’ excellent behavior made it a memorable experience.

   “It was the best trip ever!” Ribaudo said.

8th grader Sarah Feng contributed to
this article.