School trip will help students get ‘cultured’

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Demopolis Middle School’s eighth-grade class woke up early Tuesday morning to make the 2 a.m. departure for New York City.

The annual trip has become sort of a rite of passage for Demopolis City Schools students.

It is a wonderful thing that the trip, rife with educational and recreational opportunities, has not fallen victim to difficult economic conditions.

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Demopolis, like much of Alabama, is a small town with its own distinct culture. While charming in its own right, the Black Belt’s atmosphere is just a tiny fraction of the culture that is American society.

Travel and the obtaining of diverse experiences should be encouraged within our school systems in order to help students reach a more personal understanding of the world around them.

Truth be told, there is no better place in the world for such an education than New York.

The city itself acts as a microcosm of the world.

Children in the Deep South are regularly exposed to a world that contains very few ethnicities and nationalities.

A 15-minute ride on a subway car in New York City offers enough exposure to various cultures and subcultures to induce a state of shock for previously sheltered individuals.

Demopolis students won’t be so sheltered.

By the time they reach high school, they will already encountered more cultural diversity than many individuals see in a lifetime.

Demopolis Middle School’s decision to continue its yearly field trip to New York City is one that will pay long-term dividends for students who are obtaining not only lasting memories, but also an foundation of understanding that can scarcely be found in a textbook.