Seniors reflect on the past during D.C. trip

Class of 2023 tour Holocaust Museum & Arlington National Cemetery


Meghan Kerr, Perspectives Editor

The senior class went on the annual field trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, March 8.

The trip was organized by Academics Project Manager Mrs. Louise Géczy. Several faculty and staff members attended as chaperones for the trip.

Mrs. Géczy has a long process of planning this annual trip. She shared that she had to first “get us entrance tickets at the USHMM, and I had to register three months in advance.”
She also has to prepare seniors for the trip and what they will see and experience. She said that she educates students in senior seminar classes to “make sure everyone has some of the same level of understanding.”

She continued,“I think giving all of the seniors enough information is the most important so that they have preparation for it and a sense of what they’re going to experience.”

Regarding what she likes about the trip and how it is planned English Teacher Hayley Howe said, “It really focuses on the effects of war. I think that, especially for our seniors in regards to voting, it is important that this generation understand history and especially how Americans were either involved or not involved and how they would act in a scenario like that.”

The trip is an opportunity for students to learn about the solemn history of the Holocaust to promote education about the event.

The Arlington National Cemetery aspect of the trip also allows students to visit the graves of past heroes, impactful individuals, and loved ones.

The trip began with students and chaperones leaving John Carroll for D.C. at 7:45 am. Students arrived at the USHMM at 10:15 am. Students were separated into four buses with buses 1 and 2 being the first to enter the museum.

Buses 3 and 4 followed shortly after, and all seniors stayed at the museum until about 12:15 pm. when buses were reboarded to take students to lunch.

Senior Hannah Hamill found the USHMM “very eye-opening.” She shared that “although it was pretty heavy of a topic because of the nature of what it is, it was a good way to teach. I liked the trip, and it taught me a lot. It is definitely an important topic that people need to learn about.”

Senior Andrew Cox had a similar positive reaction to the museum. He said that his favorite part of the experience was “how we each received identification cards with people who were alive during the Holocaust. It was a grim reminder of how these very real people were affected by this genocide.”

Other than the museum heavily impacting students, several teachers had positive reactions to the museum and trip as a whole.

Student Service Coordinator Kate Webb said that she finds the most powerful part of the trip to be “seeing how students interact with the exhibits. . . I think the great way of how Mrs. Géczy sets the trip up is by letting the seniors meet the survivors first [on Holocaust Remembrance Day] because it puts faces to the history, and makes it more personal.”

For lunch, students were taken to the Pentagon City Mall. Soon after, the group went to Arlington National Cemetery.

At Arlington, students could freely roam the grounds until 3:00 pm when they were asked to report to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to watch the hourly Changing of the Guards ceremony.

Senior Caden Daubach revealed that he had a powerful experience at Arlington. He shared that “walking over to the JFK memorial was pretty impactful. I liked seeing the Eternal Flame. Being in silence there really made me think about the message.”

Senior Laura Hughes also felt inspired by her experience at Arlington. She said that her favorite part of visiting the cemetery was seeing the Changing of the Guard. “It was interesting how they do everything with such seriousness and respect.”

The trip provides a valuable experience for both teachers and students both at the museum and at Arlington. Social Studies teacher Joe Scheide said that he got a lot out of the experience as well. He said, “Hearing a few 21-Gun Salutes was very sad but also a beautiful tribute to the day and why we were at the cemetery.”

Students reboarded the buses at 4:00 and returned to JC around 7:00.

On the trip, students were not required to complete any immediate assignment for their classes, but rather they were asked to fully evaluate and think about what they saw both at the USHMM and Arlington National Cemetery. Students were then asked to reflect on these thoughts in their Senior Seminar and English classes.

Mrs. Géczy revealed that this aspect of the trip is her favorite part about the entire experience. She said, “I think that experiences like this are things that students remember, and if I can get one person to look at the world in a larger, broader perspective, then that’s a good thing.”