BOXFORD – Masconomet Middle School eighth graders had the opportunity to explore the nation’s capital — and the nation’s colonial capital — during a multi-day field trip down the east coast earlier this month.
From Nov. 2-5, the entire eighth-grade class traveled to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., where they visited significant historical landmarks and had an opportunity to explore the very places they’ve come to know more about through their social studies coursework.
Social studies teacher Rebecca Calzini organized the trip with the support of numerous chaperones in order to provide students with a deeper, firsthand understanding of American history, including the leaders and sacrifices that set America on a path to where it is today.
In Philadelphia, students visited Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, as well as the Interactive Constitution Center. In Washington, students visited the Capitol, several memorials, the Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian’s Air and Space, Natural History, American History and American Indian Museums. They also visited Arlington National Cemetery, which is the final resting place for thousands of people who’ve served the nation.
“It’s important for students to see the nation’s capital and see our national monuments so they appreciate the sacrifices that Americans have made in creating and maintaining our democracy,” Calzini said. “It makes them better citizens and it’s a joy to bring them there and share this experience with them.”
The trip exposed students to some of the most significant places in both American history and modern American society and served as an opportunity to make their learning more experiential. It also afforded them an opportunity to develop their independence as they explored cities with less hands-on guidance from chaperones.
“It’s important for kids to have these experiences because travel is a fundamental part of a young person’s growth, especially when it involves the nation’s capital,” teacher and chaperone Nicko Tzortzis said. “It was great to see them engaging in the sights of the capital, but they also had a chance to meet people outside of the tri-town area and engage with them as well. The kids had a great time!”
Social Studies department head Eva Urban Hughes added that she’s hopeful the school community will continue to support this trip and others like it. This year marked the first time since 2019 that Masconomet eighth graders have made the trip, following a multi-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
“Citizenship is the core of the eighth-grade curriculum and this trip underscores the values of the mission of the district,” Hughes said. “Students that attended the trip will have lasting memories of their Masco Middle School experience for a lifetime.”
The group of 246 students was accompanied by 13 chaperones, including Calzini and Tzortzis, as well as Tom Cobb, Lois Afrow, Pat Hogan, Tim Brown, Rob Beardsell, Heather Cote, Erica Donovan, Eric Bonnano, Viana Mendes and Jeanne O’Hearn.