Washington, D.C. 2024

Join the Class of 2028 on the annual Eighth Grade trip to the nation’s capitol!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Our annual Washington, DC trip began dark and early on Saturday morning, March 23, 2024. The 8th graders and their chaperones pulled away from Clarksville Academy at 5:30 AM and began the first leg of the trip to Charlottesville, Va. 

Upon arrival, the group stopped at The University of Virginia to learn all about the history of the campus and its founder, Thomas Jefferson and what student life and admissions is like today. Students visited The Whispering Wall, the famous Rotunda on the lawn, the college dorm room of Edgar Allan Poe, and paid their respects at the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers wall. 

After the hour-long campus walking tour, the group walked to dinner at a popular college hangout, Boylan Heights. Then, before checking into the hotel for the night, grabbed ice cream at The Dairy Market.

March 24, 2024

After a good night’s rest, and breakfast in the hotel, and before heading to Washington, DC, the group headed to the home of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello. A guided tour of the grounds and house helped the history of Thomas Jefferson come to life. Students toured the reconstructed residence and work areas of the 600+ enslaved laborers of the plantation. Additionally, they learned about the story of Sally Hemings. Our visit closed with a near mile hike down the mountain to visit the gravesite of Thomas Jefferson and his family. 

March 25, 2024

Monday started with a rare trip to tour the inside of The Pentagon. Clarksville Academy is fortunate to have parent and CAPA member, Tee Fountain, for MANY reasons, to include her willingness to arrange a private tour of The Pentagon for our 8th graders. The Pentagon does not provide these private tours for school groups any longer, but through Tee as a former military employee of The Pentagon, we are able to visit. Students saw the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the Navy Memorial to 9/11 (rare for the public), artwork and dedications to all branches of the military, and the interior courtyard. This was an amazing and once in a lifetime experience. We are so grateful to Tee for her arrangement of this educational experience for our students.

After leaving The Pentagon, students ate lunch at the Pentagon City Mall food court. From there, students learned about the history of African Americans through The Smithsonian’s African American Museum and The Smithsonian’s Museum of American History. 

Before dinner, the group stopped at the base of The Washington Monument and got some energy out by running around, playing volleyball, throwing a frisbee, and relaxing in the sunshine. After enjoying the lawn, students ate dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe.

To finish the day on Monday, students visited Lafayette Park and took a group picture at The White House. Interestingly, while there, the park closed as diplomatic visitors were visiting  The White House, and students watched as news cameras were set up. 
After the museums and The White House visit, and museum visits, students were able to stand outside of Ford’s Theater and The Peterson House. Students observed the original steps where Abraham Lincoln’s body was carried after being shot in Ford’s Theater. 

To end the night, the group took another nighttime walking tour of some of the many amazing monuments in the city. Students spent time at The Jefferson Memorial and The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. While viewing and learning about these monuments, the Cherry Blossom Festival around the tidal basin wowed everyone. 

Thank you to Victoria Dye for designing our wonderful shirts for the week!

March 26, 2027

Early morning on Tuesday, students drove to the home of George and Martha Washington, Mount Vernon. Students walked the grounds and had a guided tour of the house. Much of the home is original. Additionally, the group walked a trail to see the tombs of the Washingtons and also graves of the enslaved laborers that worked at Mount Vernon.

From Mount Vernon, students visited The United States Capitol. The tour of The Capitol was guided and students were able to stand in the Rotunda and National Statuary Hall to see where dignitaries and presidents lie in state. 

An exciting development on this trip was learning there is now permission to take photographs at The National Archives. Students viewed the founding and original documents for our nation.

The group capped off the night with some relaxation and fun at Pinstripes Bowling Alley and a short walk around Georgetown University. 

March 27, 2024

The day started cold and rainy- the appropriate and somber backdrop for a trip to Arlington National Cemetery. While at the cemetery, the group took the long walk to the top of the hill to witness the changing of the guard ceremony located at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. From there, students walked to the prominent grave location of John F. Kennedy (eternal flame) and also the memorial to The Challenger space mission crew.

Wet and cold, students went to dry off and recharge at L’Enfant Plaza for lunch. From there, the group experienced another somber and sobering stop at The Holocaust Museum learning about the horrible events in our history.

The museum stops ended with The Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. Students enjoyed seeing the huge exhibits that focus on all aspects of nature in our history. They also enjoyed buying hats! 

With a few extra minutes before students needed to board a dinner cruise, we took a bus tour of Washington, DC locations. Locations viewed included the original American Red Cross building, another view of The White House, The Daughters of the American Revolution building, and the World War II Memorial.

The night and trip capped off with a traditional student favorite- The Spirit Dinner Cruise. Students boarded the ship and coasted down The Potomac River viewing the DC skyline and dancing the night away. Amauri Bussey won the dance contest on the ship and even a few chaperones were seen joining the fun. It was a great way to enjoy one another’s company and bond as a class.

After the cruise, a tired group headed back to the hotel to pack up for the ride home. On Thursday, we will be Clarksville bound with a stop at the Natural Bridge Park and rest stops. 

March 28, 2024

Thursday, all got up early to head home! After a few hours on the bus, everyone got to enjoy the crisp air and sunshine on a short hike (with 137 stairs!) to the naturally formed bridge at The Natural Bridge State Park in Virginia. This area was owned by Thomas Jefferson from the 1770s-1830s. 

This stop was also where the group said goodbye to John Ivory, our amazing tour guide for the week. 

Students loaded the bus then for the final trek to Clarksville Academy. An amazing time was had by everyone and another tradition has been fulfilled. The 8th graders are absolutely fantastic and received compliments from COUNTLESS guides, drivers, and workers throughout the week. They even had a bus driver, Lawrence, and John Ivory request to serve our group again next year. Lifelong memories and friendships were made. 

Now, it’s time to enjoy Spring Break and get some rest!

Begin Your Journey.