Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

October 5, 2012

Pleasantville eighth graders going to DC

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Pleasantville — A group of 25 Pleasantville eighth grade students are preparing to take part in the school's 16th annual trip to Washington, D.C. 

Sandy Schloemer has taken the students on the previous 15 trips and will co-direct this one as well. She and Tom Wilkins will leave with the students on Oct. 16 and return Oct. 19. 

"It's nonstop," Schloemer said of the trip. Touring the nation's capitol will begin even before the students reach their hotel in D.C. 

Over the years, the stop most popular among the students has been the Holocaust Museum. This is because the students study the Holocaust before leaving on the trip. 

"It touches a chord with them to go there," Schloemer said. They also remember Arlington National Cemetery and the changing of the guard. While these are routinely popular stops, the favorite changes with each class. 

Other stops on the group's itinerary include the Memorials, Ford's Theatre, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Museums, the National Cathedral and the White House. They also intend to stop on a "ghost" tour in Alexandria, Va., and visit Mount Vernon.

Schloemer credits the success and enjoyment of the trip to her tour guide. She has used the same one for several years now and he knows how to adapt the tour when lines get too long. 

"I think he really makes the trip," Schloemer said. "We're just thankful to get the opportunity to do it." 

Students have raised funds to pay for their trips. Some have earned enough to pay for over half of the cost of the all-inclusive tour. Though this will be her 16th trip to D.C., Schloemer said she never tires of sharing the experience with Pleasantville's young people.

"Every single year, it's different," Schloemer said. "The kids make it a wonderful trip."