SNOWFLAKE-TAYLOR — Sixth grade Taylor Intermediate School teacher Marie Caldwell spent part of her summer vacation on a five-day trip to Washington D.C. and colonial Williamsburg. The June tour included 21 students and 19 adults from Snowflake and Taylor.

One of the many highlights of the trip was being able to see an Honor Flight over the World War II memorial. “The kids experienced flights in honor of WWII and Korean War veterans,” says Caldwell. “The kids clapped for the veterans and welcomed them to their memorials.”

Students experience WWII Memorial - group pic with names

Pictured are the Snowflake-Taylor students with their teacher Mrs. Marie Caldwell and other chaperones in front of the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. which is where the students met the veterans from the Honor Flight. Back Row, left to Right: Timothy Caldwell , Tracy Breedlove, David Hancock, Louis Hancock, Patricia Hancock, McKenna Solomon, Cheryl Herring, Addison Craner, Marynda Caldwell, Logan Brimhall, Misty Brimhall, Josh Brimhall, Kyler Solomon, Kamra Solomon, Christian Pachta, Hunter Barnes, Marie Caldwell. 2nd row (standing): Keith Caldwell, Bradley Baldwin, Calla Tatman, Piper Herring, Connor Spero, Jarret Ramsay, Isabel Ballard, Sydney Brimhall. Kneeling: Erin Stuebben — EF Tour Guide, Garrehett Johnson, Chayce Ballard, Brandon Peterson, Alex Banker, CC Attkakai, Connor Whitmore, Aylein Ponce, Olivia Cordova, Breanna Reynolds, Aspynn Towell, Heather Kennedy. (Not pictured — Elisabeth Decelles, Jared Whitmore, Donna Spires.)

“We really had great living history right in front of us several times during our Washington D.C. tour,” says Caldwell. “As a group we had some amazing experiences that weren’t planned.”

“Former Senator Bob Dole was also there and told us that he makes a point to greet the veterans every Saturday,” she added.

Former Senator Jeff Flake was also at the WWII Memorial during the Honor Flight and the kids have their picture taken with him as well.

The tour group also happened to be at the Ford Theater when President Trump came by,” says Caldwell. ”The kids got to see the President of the United States, his motorcade and the Secret Service.”

Students experience meeting former Senator Jeff Flake

Students, teachers and family members (as chaperones) met former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. in June. Students and adults on tour include Timothy Caldwell, Tracy Breedlove, David Hancock, Louis Hancock, Patricia Hancock, McKenna Solomon, Cheryl Herring, Addison Craner, Marynda Caldwell, Logan Brimhall, Misty Brimhall, Josh Brimhall, Kyler Solomon, Kamra Solomon, Christian Pachta, Hunter Barnes, Marie Caldwell, Keith Caldwell, Bradley Baldwin, Calla Tatman, Piper Herring, Connor Spero, Jarret Ramsay, Isabel Ballard, Sydney Brimhall, Erin Stuebben — EF Tour Guide, Garrehett Johnson, Chayce Ballard, Brandon Peterson, Alex Banker, CC Attkakai, Connor Whitmore, Aylein Ponce, Olivia Cordova, Breanna Reynolds, Aspynn Towell, Heather Kennedy, Elisabeth Decelles, Jared Whitmore and Donna Spires. (Not all participatns are pictured above.)

“Everyone was overwhelmed with the experience,” recalls Caldwell. “Being at the WWII Memorial and seeing the Honor Flight was very moving and patriotic.”

“We had beautiful weather and the kids were so moved and grateful,” says Caldwell. “As a teacher you want your kids to really understand history and there is no better place than Washington D.C.”

Organizing the trip

A teacher in the district for the last 15 years, Caldwell was aware of the summer youth tours that had been organized by social studies teacher Blane Jarvis.

“When Mr. Jarvis asked me to take over the Snowflake-Taylor summer youth tour, I wasn’t sure there would even be enough interest,” says Caldwell. “As it turns out, there was overwhelming interest from the kids and their families! There were even parents and grandparents, some of which had been to Washington D.C. with Mr. Jarvis when they attended junior high school in Snowflake 20 years ago.”

Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in the Snowflake-Taylor school district were invited on the tour many months in advance.

“Fourth grade teacher Tracy Greedlove went on the tour and was a huge help, along with the family members,” says Caldwell who began organizing the trip in March 2018.

Travel expenses

The Washington D.C. tour is not a school-sponsored event; it’s a Snowflake-Taylor community trip which costs about $1,800 per person. That includes airfare, busing, hotel, tour guides and meals. There are also discounts for signing up early.

Caldwell has already committed to the next Washington D.C. trip and the informational meetings will be announced in January 2020 to plan for a May 2021 trip. “We are going to do this every other year so kids have time to earn the money to go,” says Caldwell.

The trip was booked through EF Explore America, a company that specializes in booking customized, guided youth tours all over the US. 

For more information, join their Facebook page at Snowflake/Taylor Washington DC 2019 Trip or contact Mrs. Caldwell via email at mariec@snowflake.k12.az.us or visit https://www.efexploreamerica.com/.

Reach the reporter at lsingleton@wmicentral.com

Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.