Then we started to talk to some of the other students in the group and they smiled, acted shy, and were completely respectful. This isn’t what we expect from our young people in this day and age. As we were leaving I caught up to another teacher and asked her who they were and she said 8th Graders from Sells Middle School in Dublin, Ohio. I usually cannot remember a name, but that name I have remembered. Later we all commented that Sells Middle School in Dublin, Ohio, must be doing something right because the students seemed to understand what “it’s” all about.
In comparison I’ll share another encounter we had just experienced at the Vietnam Memorial. We were standing at the statue of the three Soldiers representing that war and nearby were a group of students from another school. All four of us wore veteran’s hats depicting our service. My dad had WW II Veteran on his and my brother had Vietnam Veteran on his hat. An adult was explaining to the students what they were going to see as they walked around (basically monuments). The adult finished speaking and my dad pointed at my brother and said that here is a “real” Vietnam Veteran. This comment was ignored so I pointed at my dad and said here is a WW II Veteran. This also was ignored so we walked on over to the Wall shaking our heads. Not that we were ignored, but that they just didn’t seem to understand that they had an opportunity to talk to living, breathing, talking history and didn’t seem to care. You can see why we were so impressed with the Sells students.
Later at the WW II Memorial we encountered two other groups of 8th grade students at two different times. One group came in and a few students looked around, but most just sat down and waited until it was time to leave. I tried talking to a few of them, but they didn’t seem very interested in talking so I let it be. I don’t remember where they were from, but it wasn’t Ohio. They soon left without showing much interest in what they were looking at, or at least that is the impression I got.
The second group came in the Memorial and looked around and as they walked by the four of us sitting in a line on a bench, I started talking to a few of the students. They were friendly and talkative so I told them they should go visit with my father which they did. Before long they were getting pictures with us and shaking our hands and thanking us for our service so I took a good look at their name tags and saw Grizzell and Dublin, Ohio. They explained that Sells and Grizzell were both visiting DC. Several more Grizzell students came over and talked to us about their relatives’ service and what they planned to do in the future and took many pictures before they left the Memorial. About 5 or 10 minutes later the Grizzell students returned and walked down our line shaking our hands, thanking each of us for our service, and exclaiming how “awesome” we were. They started with dad and went right down the line. I’m not sure if every student from Grizzell shook our hands, but it sure seemed like it. I also don’t know who got them to do that, but after our two encounters with Dublin Middle School students I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the students didn’t do it on their own.
It doesn’t take much to understand that one outstanding group of students from a school district is the product of a teacher or how a school’s administration sets policy. However, two groups from two different “Middle Schools” is the product of the district.