FRANKTON — Despite a government shutdown closing national parks across the country, the Frankton eighth-grade class will still be making its annual field trip to Washington, D.C.
Theresa Edwards, the trip coordinator and chaperon, has been busy trying to figure out which sites will be open for the class to see. She said she has spent all week rescheduling and coordinating meetings.
"I've been telling the kids they're going to be a part of history," Edwards said, "because the school has been going for years and we've never dealt with a government shutdown."
Despite the shutdown canceling some plans and leaving others in doubt, Edwards said there was never a question of whether the class would go to the nation's capital. The class raised the money for the trip last year.
Gettysburg National Park, the Smithsonian and many of the iconic D.C. monuments the students usually visit are currently closed due to the shutdown.
Edwards said they are still planning on visiting Gettysburg, where they will be limited in what they can see. She said she has arranged for a tour guide who isn't a government employee to take the class through the major battlefield landmarks.
Edwards said she schedules the trips through the National 4-H Center, which eliminates the need for a travel company or hotels. The center runs a program called "Wonders of Washington" that will take the Frankton students on a night tour of the capital.
Edwards said the class is also planning on visiting the National Cathedral, the Kennedy Center, Mount Vernon, the Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon. They will also be meeting with U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks from Indiana's 5th District.
Edwards said she is hoping the government opens back up by Saturday because the class plans on visiting the Smithsonian Institute that day. Currently the Smithsonian is closed until the shutdown is lifted. Edwards isn't sure what they will do if the closings linger into next week.
Regardless of the political bickering, Edwards said the eighth-graders were still looking forward to the trip.
"We've explained the situation to them, and the kids are still very excited about the trip," she said.
The students loaded into buses and departed around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. They're scheduled to be back on Sunday.
Contact Zach Osowski at 640-4847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Historic places Frankton students will visit -Gettysburg National Park -Arlington National Cemetery -The Kennedy Center -The Pentagon -The National Cathedral -Mount Vernon or Baltimore