Credit For Kids Sends Students To D.C.

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Anthony Azevedo, a Payson Center for Success (PCS) junior, stood next to the Apollo 13 splashdown capsule at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. during spring break.

"Standing in the presence of history was really a moving experience," he said.

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Students at Payson Center for Success stop for a moment during a tour of Washington D.C. and the historic surrounding areas over spring break.

The museum visit was part of a larger trip taken by PCS students to Washington, D.C. to learn about government, history and life outside of Payson.

His experience at the Lincoln Memorial was also memorable to Azevedo, because President Lincoln is a hero he studies on his own time.

Students spent much of the time in awe of what they had only seen in books.

What PCS teacher Nancy Mullikin called one of the "aha moments" on the trip, was when one of the girls came up to her on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said, "I can just picture Martin Luther King giving his ‘I Have a Dream' speech here. It's so real."

In order to tour the White House, each student had to undergo fingerprinting and a background check, months before the trip.

PCS students, some of whom had never been further than 100 miles from Payson, took in sights such as Arlington National Cemetery, George Washington's Mt. Vernon home, Ford's Theatre and historic Williamsburg, Va.

The teachers incorporated these historic places into the students' curricula prior to the trip, through English and history essays and math problems.

But that classroom research did not prepare them for the myriad of emotions Arlington National Cemetery evoked - remorse, depression, amazement, respect.

"I could not believe that there were 700,000+ bodies there," Quintin Tank wrote later. "I don't know how the families dealt with the losses of their sons and daughters. I can only imagine how hard it must be."

The colonial streets of Williamsburg, Va. let the students go back through time to an era when the street were cobblestone, the men wore wigs and apples were pressed by hand into cider.

Colonial Williamsburg is the world's largest living museum, with actors playing the parts of the original town's citizenry.

The students absorbed everything they saw.

At Mt. Vernon, Mullikin noted six of the boys watching a movie about the battlefields during the War for Independence.

"They were mesmerized by the sacrifices people made and the high moral values they had," she said.

The PCS students recorded their experience in an eight-page newspaper they published called the Historic Gazette. Each student had a hand in the production as a photographer, reporter or editorial staff.

Just like a real newspaper, there are news and feature articles, advice columns, obituaries, advertisements and weather.

Wesley Murray wrote a fictional story of a slave boy who located his mother after three years.

Patrick Werner compared the games of today and the games of yesteryear in, "Can Blind Man's Bluff Make a Comeback?"

"Entertainment was a lot more physical in Colonial times than it is today," Ashlei Sockrider wrote in her article.

The fake hair wigs of 200 years ago fascinated writer Makayla Cabello.

"We got to experience things that some people wait a lifetime to do and may never get to do," wrote Heidi Haworth.

Students had to come up with $200 for the trip. Credit for Kids donations paid for the rest of the trip.

Chris and Jerry -- the parents of Kayla Floyd, a student who passed away and would have graduated in 2007 --- donated disposable cameras for the adventure, in memory of their daughter.

PCS thanks all the people who helped them on their journey and plans to mail them a copy of the Historic Gazette.

Other people who would like a copy of the paper may stop by the school district office at 514 W. Wade Lane or call PCS at (928) 472-2011.

The students have developed a PowerPoint presentation about their patriotic experience. Any organization who wishes to have a student give a presentation at their club may contact the school.

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