November 6th is also the day that I board a bus bound for Washington DC.
I might add that also with me on this bus - Bus #5 - will be 3 teachers and 47 8th grade students.
Please send good thoughts our way.
We are part of the Novi Middle School 8th grade trip.
- 8 buses
- 27 teachers
- 1 Assistant Principal
- 1 school police liaison officer
- 1 Board of Education member
- 1 school nurse
- And me - the Novi Community School District Superintendent.
I have been on this trip five previous times. On my first trip in 2012, a norovirus swept through our merry band of travelers. Let me just say it was not pretty.
I am sure it will not happen again.
Why do we do this?
To learn history, of course. To see the US Constitution displayed in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building. To see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. To think and reflect on Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. and the Vietnam War Memorial.
Your sons and daughters can at times be very reflective, understand the enormity of a moment, see with clarity how what they are studying about history in Novi, Michigan, connects with the larger world they live in.
But, at times, we are reminded that they are 8th graders.
On one trip, as we sat in Ford's Theater, a student listened to the guide and asked earnestly, "Wasn't President Lincoln shot in a theater?" The answer, of course, was "Yes. Yes President Lincoln was shot in a theater. In fact, he was shot in this very theater."
So, at times, the lessons of history are not as clear as we think them to be.
And that is when I am reminded that there are other purposes for this trip.
The Washington DC trip is educational.
But it is also about other things.
It is about 8th grade students learning to navigate social situations on a bus for ten to twelve hours. It is about 8th grade students keeping track of their own suitcase. It is about 8th grade students listening to adults who are not their parents. It is about 8th grade students problem solving how to charge a phone. It is about 8th grade students being with friends.
I am glad that our students - your sons and daughters - have this chance, can experience this trip in this way.
It will provide lasting memories.
And, if we are lucky, it will reinforce that we are fortunate to have each other.