Capitol Gains: 8th Graders Visit D.C.

Since 1975, the end of the school year has culminated in a curricular trip to Washington D.C. for Prairie’s 8th graders.

Alan Mills, social studies teacher and trip sponsor, never tires of this annual pilgrimage with his students. This year’s version of Prairie’s annual odyssey to our nation’s capitol included a special highlight – the 8th graders were able to tour the inside of the White House for the first time in over 10 years.

“As with the entire trip, it seemed like there were no lines,” said Mills. “In fact, it almost felt like the Prairie students were receiving a private tour. What an experience to be able to take pictures of the Washington Monument from the White House.”

This year’s 8th grade class was also the first to have the opportunity to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.  After eagerly awaiting the opening of this new Smithsonian museum for several years, it did not disappoint.

A People’s Journey, A Nation’s Story features accounts of powerful moments in African American history, culture, and community. Students and adults alike were struck by the profundity of Lonnie G. Bunch, museum founding director, when he said: “The African American experience is the lens through which we understand what it is to be an American.”

Carmen Warren, MS math teacher, echoed this passion when she described the significance of a heightened understanding of African American culture: “It’s not something we get to see every day, but experiencing the culture was extremely impactful. Three hours in this museum was not nearly enough.  I look forward to returning next year.”

Click here for a gallery of 2017 Washington, D.C. trip photos.