2018-06-11 / Sports

Students share highlights of D.C. trip

By Steven Kovac
810-452-2694 •


Eighth-graders (left to right) Elizabeth Geiger, Joseph Gingell and Madalynn Kohler shared their impressions of the recent class trip to Washington D.C. 
Photo by Steven Kovac Eighth-graders (left to right) Elizabeth Geiger, Joseph Gingell and Madalynn Kohler shared their impressions of the recent class trip to Washington D.C. Photo by Steven Kovac BROWN CITY — American History teacher Jesse VanBuskirk has the knack of getting students interested in history even if it’s not their favorite subject.

VanBuskirk’s personal passion for history is contagious. He creatively uses extracurricular materials to supplement his classroom lessons. And for the last two years, he is utilizing a multi-day bus trip to Washington D.C. to bring his students into direct contact with sites of historical interest in and around our nation’s capital, including — this year — the civil war battlefield at Gettysburg, Penn.

“The trip has proven to be a great way of exposing the young people to people and things they have not been exposed to,” said VanBuskirk.

“One of the highlights of the trip this year was our visit to the African- American Heritage Museum. President Donald Trump was dedicating the brandnew facility when we were there last year, so we couldn’t get in. We made it in this year and the kids loved it.

“It’s a multi-story building with each floor emphasizing a different aspect. It starts with slavery and goes all the way through the present, displaying the contributions African- Americans have made to our culture and society.”

Eighth-grader Joseph Jingell, whose favorite subject is math, shared his thoughts about the trip, saying, “My favorite things were the museums and memorials, especially the Lincoln Memorial. The trip really gave us a better understanding of our history and heritage.”

“To me,” said Jingell, “History is the record of movements. I’m thinking of things like the civil rights movement and the suffrage movement.”

Jingell said his favorite president is Franklin D. Roosevelt. “FDR created so many things we still have today, and he led us through World War II and the Great Depression,” he said.

Fellow eighth-grader Elizabeth Geiger views history as the story of important people expressed in Washington’s many monuments.

“I liked everything,” said Geiger. “The battlefield at Gettysburg, the Holocaust Museum. We saw Lincoln’s stovepipe hat at the Smithsonian.”

Geiger, whose favorite subject is science, and whose favorite president is Theodore Roosevelt “because of all he did for the environment,” said, “I’d recommend the trip to next year’s eight-graders. It was really informative and interesting.”

Madalynn Kohler, also known to her closest friends as “Smurf,” talked about the fundraising that students did to make the trip possible.

“We sold pizza kits and popcorn to raise money,” she said.

Madalynn went on to say that to her, “History is not just what happened in the old days. It’s every single thing you do every day.”

Kohler spoke of the statues they saw on display in the Capitol Building.

“Every state gets two. The ones for Michigan were of our first territorial governor Lewis Cass and President Gerald Ford.”

Madalynn’s favorite subject is math, and her favorite part of the trip was the Gettysburg battlefield.

“My favorite president is Abraham Lincoln because he kept the United States together and fixed our nation for the good of the future,” said Kohler.

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