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8th Grade Washington DC Trip

Student group with Senator Welch


~ The Class of 2028 Washington DC Trip is scheduled for June 3 - June 8, 2024 ~

We will leave U-32 at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 3and return early morning (about 5 a.m.) on Saturday, June 8. For students who are planning to go to DC, here is a partial list of school-sponsored fundraisers to put on your calendar.  Don't miss this trip!  It's a great experience!  Just ask any student who has gone before. The fall fundraisers will start right away… FAST & FURIOUS!  All students are strongly encouraged to participate in these fundraisers, but if parents have other fund-raising plans, that's fine too…  The cost of the trip will be approximately $810 with 6 equal installments of $135.  This includes all meals, lodging, transportation, etc.


Sept. 1- 15- FLOWER POWER FUNDRAISER for Grades 7 & 8

Oct. 3- Nov. 3 - Charleston Wrap Fundraiser (on-line)

Nov. 3 - Permission Forms and Payment #1 Due ($135)

November 11 - FALL CRAFT FAIR AND RAFFLE (8th Grade)

Dec. 2 - Payment #2 ($270 in account)

Dec. 1 - Chaperone Request forms due back

Jan. 5 - Payment #3 Due ($405 in account)

Jan. 12 - 26 - Little Caesar's PIZZA/SNACK FUNDRAISER for Grades 7 & 8 

Feb. 2 - Payment #4 Due ($540 in account)

March 8 - Payment #5 Due ($675 in account)


April 5 - Final Payment Due!!!!!   ($810 in account)

April 24 - Final permission forms, medical info, release forms mailed home

May 5 - Final permission forms, medical info, release forms due

May 22 - Informational Meeting with the Students

May 23 - 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Chaperone Meeting

May 29 - Meet your Chaperones!

June 3 - 7:00 p.m. Depart for DC

June 8 - 5:00 a.m. Return from DC


DC Organizers - Amy Molina 229-0321 x5159  ~

Sue Verchereau 229-0321 x5561  ~


Student group with JB
Student group with Roy Healy





We stay at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.

Students are assigned to a chaperone group of 5-6 students per chaperone. Chaperone groups are paired with another group.

Groups travel into DC either by using the Metro system or on our tour buses.

We spend a significant amount of time on The National Mall visiting the Smithsonian Museums: American History, Natural History, National Gallery of Art (West & East Buildings), US Botanical Gardens, Native American Museum, African American Museum, Air & Space Museum, Hirshhorn Museum, Sculpture Garden, and the Freer Gallery of Art.

We have meals at Marymount, Ronald Reagan Food Court, Kennedy and The Golden Corral.

We spend time on Capitol Hill visiting the US Capitol, US Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. If our representatives are in town, we will try to arrange a meeting on the Capitol Steps to chat with Balant, Sanders and Welch.

We visit the monuments and memorials: Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

We tour the US Holocaust Museum. 

We tour by foot or by shuttle Arlington National Cemetery where we watch the Changing of the Guard. 

We get dressed up for a show at The Kennedy Center.

We visit the National Zoo.

~ Helping your student prepare for a successful trip to Washington, DC ~

Amy Molina and Sue Verchereau have organized and chaperoned the DC trip for many years. We are very proud of our success rate with students who have never traveled out of state, students who get car sick, students who get home sick, students with medical issues and students with anxiety. With a small chaperone-to-student ratio and lots of teachers and TAs; we are all very proactive with students' needs and we know the students well. In all honesty, we deal with many of the same issues that parents have concerns about on a yearly basis.

We recognize that parents get anxious and nervous about sending their students away from home for a week without them. Please trust that this is a developmentally appropriate trip for your student and that they will learn to take care of themselves, be part of a large group, how to travel in a city and how to ask for help when they need it. Students get to experience independence and responsibility in a safe and supporting environment.

TEACHING LIFE SKILLS - Two of the skills that we will work on with your student this year are responsibility and independence. We will communicate directly with the student about their DC account and they, in turn, will communicate with their parents. We ask that students pay attention to deadlines and due dates. We don’t search out students to give them permission slips or fundraising materials. All of these materials can be found on Sue’s windowsill and we encourage students to help themselves. If students miss a deadline, we don’t accept late orders. It is their responsibility to make the deadline. We are happy to give reminders, but we won’t go from classroom to classroom collecting stuff. It may be frustrating at first for a student who may or may not have the skills yet to be successful at taking responsibility for themselves. That is why we practice, practice, practice. Students won’t learn how to be responsible if they never have the opportunity to work on it. They will fail, they will get frustrated AND then they will be successful. It takes time and patience. Resist the urge to do for them what they can do themselves.

ANXIOUSNESS - If your student is anxious about the trip, there are several skills that you can work on at home to help with this. When situations arise and your student feels anxious, encourage them to talk about it and together come up with some strategies that will ease the anxiety. Some strategies that can help are deep breathing, taking a minute away from the situation or talking the situation through. A good strategy for dealing with anxiety while on the trip is to get comfortable with an adult at school who can help. Communication is the key.

HOMESICKNESS – If your student currently feels uncomfortable staying away from home, you are in luck because you have months to work on this. Again, practice is the key. Talk with your student about what it is that makes them uncomfortable and then work on a plan where they can practice being away (without you). Starting small might be beneficial and may be as simple as spending a few hours with a relative. Then progress to spending the night. Have your student invite friends to spend the night at your house. Once they feel comfortable and successful with that, you can work toward spending the night at a friend’s house. Once they get comfortable with this, you will probably have to fight to keep them home!

MOTION SICKNESS – Although it might seem that dealing with motion sickness is a cause to worry about with your student, please know that we deal with this issue every year. Dramamine can be very effective. Practice taking Dramamine while taking road trips. There are also other solutions that might help with this: limit food consumption just before a trip, encourage your student to wear a motion sickness bracelet, let them chew mint gum or ginger to help settle their stomach, give them a stress ball to take their mind off the trip, or bring along an item that will provide comfort (a favorite blanket, pillow or object). If your student is really sensitive to motion, it might take a lot of practice and you might have to combine two or more of the ideas above. If, after trying these solutions, your student is still suffering, please talk with your primary care physician about this.

THE BIG CITY – Although Washington DC is a big city by Vermont standards, it is not a difficult city to navigate. The layout is logical and the students catch on quickly. Chaperones will ask their group of students to navigate and it is incredible to watch students figure out the maps for both the city and the subway. Both of these are essential life skills that take practice. The students will work on this at school and you can certainly work on these skills at home. Teach your student how to navigate using a map and then let them practice navigating around Montpelier on their own while you walk with them.  Again, resist the urge to take over; let them make mistakes – that is how students learn. If a student happens to get separated from their group, they will know what to do as we go over this at our DC meetings and they go over it in Core. Your student will NOT need to call home if they get separated, they will call their chaperone. Our Core teachers will go over, in detail, how to use the Metro in DC. It is one of the safest and cleanest subways in the world. By the time we head to DC, all the students will know, and have practiced, what to do if they get separated from their group on the subway. In all our years, we have never lost a student on the subway.

LETTING GO – Our eighth graders are working every day to become independent, resilient and responsible young adults. You may have noticed that they will often turn to their peers for advice and comfort instead of their parents. Don’t be offended, this is natural and developmentally appropriate. Our students are learning to make their own choices, they are learning to assert themselves, they are learning to ask for help when needed and they are learning to reap the rewards of great satisfaction when they figure out how to handle situations on their own. We want our students to take care of themselves, because we know that students who are comfortable figuring out difficult situations are more successful in school than students who rely on adults to figure things out for them. School is an incredibly safe place to work on these skills. The adults at U-32 are all trained to help students figure things out on their own by prompting them with questions that will lead them in the right direction. Having said all this, we understand how difficult it is to let go. Resist the urge to do for your student what they can do for themselves even if they don’t do it the same way you would – let them figure out what works best for them. Practice, patience and having faith in your student will help immensely as you navigate the waters of raising an independent, resilient and responsible young adult.

If you have questions or need more clarification about the trip, please don’t hesitate to call either one of us. If you or your student would like to talk with Amy and/or Sue, please don’t hesitate to call us. We want all of our students to have the trip of a lifetime.


60+ Days Prior to the Trip - 80% of personal money can be refunded, less any non-recoverable expenses.

30-59 Days Prior to the Trip - 50% of personal money can be refunded, less any non-recoverable expenses.

0-29 Day Prior to the Trip - No Refunds.