DuBois Area School District

Middle school history club visits nation's capital

history club

Shown are the members of the DuBois Area Middle School’s History Club at the Lincoln Memorial during their trip to Washington, D.C. Front row, from left, Grant Long, Derek Allen, Sara Donaldson, Michaela Morgan, Tiffany Swanson, Chris Slawson, Krista Kentoski, Ben Henrichs. Second row, from left, Dennis Klaiber, Summer Mayers (chaperone), Mark Porrin (chaperone), Lake Lander, Casey Pasternak, Courtney Tharp, Courtney Lecker and Natalie Newcamp. Third row, from left, Ian Vicklund, Dustin Shindledecker, Justin Rock, Jake Kriner, Josh Butlin, Cassidy Read, Shelbie Jamison, Lauren Nelson, Brie Hughes, Emily Titler, Jacob Guiher, and Cody Webster. Fourth row, from left, Zach Hopkins, Derek Herzing, Alex Noel, Cody Fletcher, Dylan Fye, Bob Anderson (teacher), Courtney Kunselman, Laken Delaney, Curt Norris, Nick Johnson, Jacob Skubisz, Jon Mohney, Kevin Toney, Josh Sanko, and Eli Meholick.

It’s one thing to talk about how the United States government works in a classroom. It’s a totally different thing to see it in person.


That’s the experience members of the DuBois Middle School History Club shared on April 30th as 40 students and 15 adult chaperones made the jaunt to Washington, D.C.

The club was started by 8th grade history teachers Bob Anderson, Dan Marshall, and Kim Gallagher this year. Several meetings and a fundraiser were held to make the trip a reality.


The day’s events started with a drive down Constitution Avenue. The students were able to see well-known landmarks like the Washington Monument, the White House, and the National Archives building.


The first stop was made at the U.S. Capitol. On the walk to the new visitor’s center, the students stopped for a quick photo opportunity at the U.S. Supreme Court. 


Upon entering the Capitol, the group watched a 13-minute orientation video entitled “Out of Many, One” which is the translation for the E Pluribus Unum motto found on the Seal of the United States.


The video explained the purpose of the Congress, some of the landmark legislation passed throughout the nation’s history, and the many different backgrounds of the people who are represented there.


From there, the students got an inside glimpse of the history and the inner workings of the building with a guided tour of the Rotunda and old chambers of the House of Representatives.

Next, the students made a stop at the infamous Ford’s Theatre where President Lincoln was assassinated. A park ranger explained the events of April 14, 1865, and the aftermath that followed.


With a healthy dose of the past thrown their way, the group took a break while taking in some food and popular culture at the Hard Rock Café near the theatre.


After dinner and a little souvenir shopping, the students made their way to the Lincoln Memorial. The steps made famous by Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” also made for an excellent photo opportunity to commemorate the day’s events.


The tour concluded with a visit to the Arlington Cemetery located across the Potomac River in Virginia. The students stopped to pay their respects to the Kennedy family and then made their way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers to watch the changing of the guard ceremony.


While the overall consensus was positive, many of the students couldn’t agree on which part of the trip they enjoyed the most.


“I liked seeing the White House,” Derek Herzing said.  “I’ve been to Washington, D.C. before and never got to see it and was really happy that I finally did.”


Jake Kriner said he enjoyed the Capitol the best. Asked why, Kriner replied, “it was just neat to learn the history behind it and knowing all the famous people who had been there.”


Sara Donaldson went a different route. “Even though it was a lot of walking, I really enjoyed visiting Arlington. It was interesting to see the Kennedy graves and the soldiers switching.”


Even if there was a little disagreement over the top stop, there was little debate that the trip to Washington, D.C., was an experience the students will not soon forget.