Middle schoolers visit monuments, museums
By Holly Neumann
A total of 55 students and 24 chaperones, from the Manawa School District, traveled May 15-20 to Washington, D.C., for the trip of a lifetime.
“This was a great experience,” said Jeff Bortle who helped organize the trip. “Educationally you cannot beat experiencing things first hand.”
The group of 7th and 8th graders visited such places as the Holocaust Museum, Arlington Cemetery and more.
According to Bortle, the Newseum was a trip favorite.
“There was a sports section and a crime busting section,” he said. “There was so much to see and do there, we literally had to drag kids out of there. For our next trip we will allow an additional hour there.”
Chaperone JoAnn Schuelke gave credit to Bortle and other organizers for putting the trip to together.
“It was so organized, so planned out, you would not know it was the first time they went,” she said. “It was a great experience. I think I got just as much out of it as the kids did.”
The Manawa School District was able to grant two students scholarships to go on the trip, based on good behavior and STAR testing improvements.
Garret Yohr was one of the recipients.
“It meant the world to me,” said Yohr. “This level of a field trip is a chance of a lifetime. It is just mind blowing awesome that I got to go.”
Yohr’s parents had initially told him he would not be able to go on the trip.
“I will never forget the look on Garret’s face when I told him he won,” said Bortle. “He looked at me and said ‘my parents said I can’t go.’ When I told him that his parents had changed their minds, his face went blank.”
“We could not have afforded this trip,” said Garret’s mom, Cathy McNamara. “Words cannot even describe how grateful we are.”
Yohr’s favorite place to visit was the Lincoln Memorial.
“At the left side of it was the Gettysburg Address,” he said. “I was barely tall enough to touch the last words on it.”
Yohr went on to say that the trip was well worth it.
“The stuff we got to do was amazing,” he said. “Most people only get to see these things on TV.”
Taylor Hart also received a scholarship, but was unavailable for comment.
During the June 15 meeting of the Manawa School Board, another trip to Washington, D.C., was approved for the 2016-17 school year.