People to People trip memorable for sixth-grade duo
Spring break became a lesson in patriotism for two Eudora Middle School students.
Sixth-graders Emma Beck and Valerie Pringle went to Washington, D.C,. from March 19 to 25 through the People to People's World Leadership Forum.
The trip gave the two students an opportunity to visit museums, learn about historic battles and discover a former first lady's favorite color.
"They want us to be leaders not followers," Valerie said.
Eudora Middle School teacher Matt Raugewitz nominated both students to take part in the experience.
The program's instructors taught the two students different forms of leadership and the importance of leading by example, Emma said.
It also gave them the opportunity to meet students from other parts of the continent.
"We met a lot of friends from all over the world," Valerie said.
The girls said they made friends with students from Hawaii and Canada.
Valerie and Emma explored the Beltway with two separate groups. Both visited major monuments and the Smithsonian museums.
"We went to a lot of museums," Emma said.
Their experience was mixed with leadership activities each morning and various assignments to chronicle what they learned. Their work during the trip earned the duo high school credit.
The assignments also taught them both little-known facts about the places visited.
For instance, Abraham Lincoln's hands on the statue at the Lincoln Memorial form the letters 'a' and 'l' in American sign language, Emma said.
Valerie learned former first lady Mamie Eisenhower loved the color pink, she said. She discovered the fact after visiting the former president's home.
The trip was also filled with serious lessons.
Valerie said she saw Congress in action on Capitol Hill.
"It was really cool seeing people arguing over a law," Valerie said.
Visiting the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum also struck a chord with her, Valerie said. There she learned individual stories of those who went through the Holocaust.
"The story of the Jews was very sad," she said.
Emma had a similar feeling when she saw the sculptures of soldiers at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial She clearly remembered the look of horror on the faces of the soldiers, she said.
"You can tell something really bad was happening," Emma said.
Although Valerie and Emma toured the city in different groups, both had the same summary of their time.
"It was an educational experience we'll never forget," Valerie said.