It requires a dedicated and passionate teacher to take 75 eighth grade students across the country to explore our nation’s foundations. Becki Shuler has been teaching for 14 years and has spearheaded her school’s Christian Discoveries trip with WorldStrides for 11 of those years. Becki, who has been interested in educational travel since she was a student herself, actually visited Washington, D.C., for the first time with a group of her students! The trip has now expanded to include Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and New York City.
Many have described Becki’s itinerary as ambitious, but she sees it as “good stewardship of our time” and wants to make sure her students see everything they possibly can. The group travels in March; they brave the potential cold weather in order to have shorter lines and fit more into a long, but fulfilling, week. Her students do not bring cell phones or iPods and enjoy spending time with lifelong friends before they head to different high schools. When asked about some of the more powerful moments she has witnessed with her students, she shares, “I think one of the things that always impacts them is the number of people who have died serving our country. I don’t think they ever really understand the number until they see the graves at Arlington National Cemetery, the names on the Vietnam Wall, or the stars at the WWII Memorial. Then, and only then, does it begin to sink in.”
Becki also spoke of one of her proudest moments on a trip. While her group was in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, a group of Korean tourists were struggling to understand a guide. After witnessing their struggle, one of Becki’s students who spoke Korean offered to help translate. The group was so grateful they offered the student $50 for helping them, but he turned down the money. Becki affirms, “It warmed my heart to know that this young man offered these people a glimpse of an honest, respectful American student.”
When she is not busy teaching, guiding her students up the East Coast, or helping new Program Leaders get started as part of our Distinguished Educators Network, Becki is an avid traveler who often consults the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die when she heads out for an adventure. She has traveled through 39 states and nine foreign countries! Her latest excursion helped bring one of her favorite subjects, the Civil War, to life. She visited all of the major Civil War battlefields in one trip, and believes this educational trip has really enhanced her teaching skills on this topic.
It is evident that Becki truly believes in the power of leaving the classroom behind and experiencing history, government, service, and culture firsthand. We applaud Becki Shuler and all of our Program Leaders who provide this opportunity for more than 250,000 students each year with WorldStrides.