From press reports
For many students, Spring Break is characterized as time vacationing at the beach and long days spent lounging around – relaxing. For some Choctaw County High School students, it was a time to learn.
“There is no law stating children only learn in a classroom during a school’s regular hours of operation. School holidays are the optimum time for students and adults to learn.” stated Ms. Watson, Choctaw County High School Spanish and World History teacher. “When taken advantage of, those [vacation] moments open the world outside of textbooks, mandated tests and four walls. That is learning. The student is experiencing the lesson.”
Sophomore Cliff Hadley and juniors: John Michael Briones, Daijah Henley and GinnyBeth Ivy traveled with Watson to our Nation’s capital during Spring Break doing just that, experiencing learning rather than learning a lesson.
“I doubt they slept at all that night before. It was all of their first time flying and just the mere excitement.” Watson explained. “Their first lesson was how to maneuver about an airport.”
The educational tour began with travels to the historical city of Williamsburg, Virginia. Students visited the first permanent British settlement at the historic Jamestown, Virginia, viewing replicas of the early settlement structures of Powhatan Indians and British settlers and the British sailing vassals. During their colonial Williamsburg, VA, stay students walked the streets of the colonial city visiting various artisans of colonial trades, a local tavern and historic buildings. Something unique the students had a chance to experience was a memorable night Ghost Tour of Williamsburg by candlelight.
“These stories are the cool stories you do not read about in class,” a student mentioned.
After their two-day tour of the colonial sites, the group travel to Washington, D.C. for the remainder of their stay. Students visited places they had only read about or seen in pictures sitting in their classes. While in Washington, D.C., students saw the seat of our Nation’s power and the things mark us as citizens of this country. One student recalled seeing the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights as awe-inspiring moments.
“The only thing between me and those important papers was a sheet of glass. They were right in front of me.”
If seeing those documents were not enough to bring an awe factor, students had plenty to pull from. Exploring the Smithsonian Institute brought the students face to face with the Hope Diamond, which is valued at $250 million, the Apollo 11 Command Module and mummies – along with other unique artifacts. They had the opportunity to go inside the Washington Monument and get an aerial view of the District. Visiting the Holocaust Museum allowed them to explore the exhibit, Some were Neighbors and view actual artifacts. At the Library of Congress, students toured the Civil Rights exhibit and had the opportunity to view the Gutenberg Bible.
Their itinerary even took them to some of memorials throughout the District – Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson. If exploring Washington, D.C was not enough the group spent the week with three other groups from around the United States coming from Alaska, Hawaii and Arizona.
“Being grouped with other groups, gave our students an opportunity to discuss the differences between their Mississippi culture and culture of other areas in our country. Hawaii even brought gifts for our students; our students were not aware Hawaii grew coffee. In an age of Technology, meeting those students started a conversation.” said Watson.
Watson hopes similar educational tours continue at Choctaw County High School and more students take advantage of the opportunity.
Watson and the students are really appreciative of the support we received from the community and Mr. Burton and Mrs. Doss. All of them were supportive from the beginning and saw how such programs can benefit the students.