Spring Break 2016 was extraordinary for the fourteen fortunate middle school students who traveled to the East Coast under the leadership of parent volunteer, Annabelle Vergiels in association with American Christian Tours. The student’s adventure began in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. The tour, led by Mr. Bob of ACTS, was thoroughly educational, exciting and very impactful for students and chaperones alike. Abby Martinez, a 7th grader at CCA says, “It was so exciting to go to our nation’s capital and learn how our country was founded… We saw incredible monuments of the amazing men and women that helped shape our country to what it is now! We even stood five feet from where George Washington died!” Their short time in DC boasted a day at the National Mall, a trip to the Library of Congress, a time of prayer outside the Supreme Court, a tour through the halls and rotunda of the Capitol, group pictures in front of the White House and detailed explanations of every major monument including Iwo Jima, JFK’s eternal flame, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Lincoln Memorial and an elevator ride to the top of the 555ft, 5 and1/8th in Washington Monument. But that wasn’t all they experienced, with just three days left the students continued their journey through history. Nadis Wharry, 7th grade, says, “The trip was extremely exciting. I learned about many different things. I saw things I have never seen before. Some of my favorite things about the trip were the Ford Theater and the tour guide.”
After reading the famous Gettysburg Address exactly where Lincoln himself once stood and proclaimed that we cannot ever forget what our brave countrymen did to ensure equality for all mankind, the student’s enjoyed an amazing cyclorama presentation at Gettysburg National Military Park and even learned to march in formation while putting themselves in the shoes of a Civil War soldier. Mrs. Vergiels says, “What a privilege it was to be able to chaperone our daughter Olivia's class to DC, Gettysburg and New York City! A forever memory it will be for us. I would encourage all parents to be in about joining their son or daughter on a school trip at least one before they graduate. On this class excursion we even had the opportunity to visit an Amish town in Pennsylvania on our way to New York City. How enriching that experience was!”
The students especially enjoyed their time in New York City seeing landmarks they’ve only seen in movies like Central Park, Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Estevan Garza, 7th grade, says, “New York was amazing and it was really neat to see all these tall buildings everywhere! I’m very thankful for the people in charge and our leaders who showed us everywhere and helped us learn like Bob and Mrs. Vergeils. One thing that I remember Bob said is ‘We all need a pilot for our plane and what we need is God as our pilot to steer us in good directions’. What that quote meant for me is there might be storms and turbulence in life, but God will get me through it no matter what. He is the pilot I want to have in my life. I thank God I got to come on this trip and for my mom, brother, friends and leaders that I got to share this experience with. I was truly blessed by this trip.”
Our profound time with ACTS Tours centered on knowing the true Hope of our founding fathers and the only Hope for our great nation- a sovereign God who loves us and takes care of us. Everyone returned home safely, though exhausted, with a renewed patriotism and memories to last a lifetime.