Field Trip Reflections
by Becca Ritchie, BAT Leadership Team and Washington State BAT
The year was 1978. I went to school at McNeil Island Elementary School. It was a remote necessary school in Steilacoom that was a two room school house. In the picture is Mrs. Harris, the k-2 teacher and Marta the only other 4th grader (Picture was taking our fifth grade year).
One of the fond memories I have of my fourth grade year was a field trip we took. You have to understand, there were 70 houses on the island. They were inhabited by the families of the guards and lieutenants that lived on the island and worked with the federal prisoners who were incarcerated there. For the children who lived on the island, getting off the island and seeing the world was a huge dream.
When we were told that we were going to take a field trip to Seattle to go to the Seattle Center we were all beyond the moon excited. We got up early, caught the foot ferry and then got on a bus that awaited us on the "other side." We sang songs on the bus ride to Seattle. Most every girl who was age eligible was a Girl Scout so we knew songs. (Our parents can attest to the hours of songs after camp that were graciously shared with them over, and over and over again.) There were no boys in our fourth grade just Marta and me.
It was so exciting going to the "city". We got there and I remember my first time looking at the Space Needle; just standing there and looking up to the top. We didn't go up in it. That didn't happen until I was in my 30's.
I remember that "Emergency" was filming an episode while we were there. They were throwing a dummy off the top of the Needle for the show. We were just wide eyed and taking everything in.
We went into the Seattle Center House. They had a "bubble" elevator, where you got into a bubble type dome and it took you from 1st floor to the 2nd.
And the food court! Foods we had never seen abounded. We sampled all types of things from so many different cultures.
I don't remember what else we did, but I do remember how I felt as my world was expanded and I got to experience new and exciting things.
This opportunity was afforded to me via my Public Education.
I wonder how many wide-eyed 4th graders got to take a field trip this year? I wonder, how many were inspired by what they saw? I wonder when will we as a society understand that experiences are as important as the three R's? We must inspire our students; provide them with experiences that will help them dream, support them in those dreams, and plan experiences so that they aspire to great things.
We MUST amply fund public education, not for the testing, or the rigor or the hours of math and reading...but to create a system that helps children understand that they can dream and those dreams are attainable. IT IS TIME!