Washington, DC

How An 8th Grade Trip To Washington, D.C., Changed A Program Leader’s Perception of History

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Nate P., a history teacher from Colorado, is no stranger to WorldStrides. He traveled with us to Washington, D.C., and Colonial Williamsburg as an eighth grader, and is now taking groups of students on the exact same experience. Nate’s middle school trip to our nation’s capital ultimately shaped his career as a teacher.

“I straight up hated history,” he says. “It was the dumbest class. I hated it. It had no value to me. Up until then. Now, I kind of dedicated my life to it.

“There was just some moment where history clicked and ‘oh this is actually a thing,” he continues. “There are people that actually did these things. Being out in the field, you suddenly get to know how important these things are. You hear about the content, then you see it. I remember walking through the Korean War Memorial and being like ‘oh my gosh!’ Getting to see FDR and his little dog… It just suddenly meant something.”

These days, Nate teaches a lot of modern history, covering the 20th century, from 1898 through the fall of the Soviet Union, a span of time that has helped shaped D.C., significantly.  He enjoys taking his students to the places they learn about.

“A lot of people go to D.C., to hear about Lincoln, but for me, its standing up where Martin Luther King, Jr., stood to deliver his I Have A Dream speech. This year, we watched King give his speech. We dissected the text. There is so much there that we talk about. The Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, the Holocaust Memorial. They get to apply their background knowledge. They have that ‘get it’ factor. It becomes so much more important. For a few days, I get to see them breathe it. That’s incredible to me. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Nate believes strongly in educational travel and its impact on students’ futures.

“One of the things I regret is I didn’t do a study abroad program,” he says. “My wife did and she’s super passionate about making sure we take the kids into the field. I traveled a lot as an adult. I realized the concept of global citizenship. It helps give you a bigger, broader view of the U.S. It is more collective and more diverse. This country is many things to many people. Travel helps kids realize how they understand America and the world as a whole.”

When asked what he hopes his students take away from their trip to Washington, D.C., he hopes they realize the opportunities ahead of them.

“I hope they realize they have the power to be a part of change,” he says. “Being at the Lincoln Memorial for the Million Man March in 1963, I want them to see that. I want them to read King’s speech on the stairs. I want them to feel that they can help America live up to those things that our Founding Fathers subscribed to us. I have taught students that are now in college for law, to be teachers, doctors, scholars. It’s so cool to see what young people do with their lives. I know the passion for history I helped them find is a big part of that.”

Nate is also quick to credit WorldStrides. “You guys do a good thing. I believe in what you guys do. You help provide an opportunity I couldn’t do otherwise. I couldn’t book five days of travel for however many people and take them to all of these wonderful sites without losing my mind.”

“I am so stoked to take the kids,” he continues. “I’m insanely stoked. It’s going to be awesome.”

Learn more about our educational programs to Washington, D.C.


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