by marlys good
The Capitol, Congress, White House, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Arlington National Cemetery. The American History, Natural History and Air & Space museums. The Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt memorials. Memorials dedicated to the Korean Conflict, World War II, Iwo Jima, and Martin Luther King Jr.
For 25 consecutive summers Ken Jensen has given dozens of Greybull students the opportunity to see all of the above and far more as he chaperoned tours of Washington D.C.
The tour this summer was the “swan song” for Jensen, who retired in May after 41 years of teaching at Greybull Middle School.
“Another wonderful group of Greybull students (nine) and adults,” summed it up for Jensen. Students in the “tour group” were Ralph Petty, Kyla Hutchins, Braeden Tracy, Bayley Burns, Tatem Edeler, Gage Hunt, Austyn Sheets, Emily Bottom and Morgan Haley. Chaperones we Kathy Jensen, Debbie Bottom, Melanie Edeler, Scott McColloch and Nolan Tracy.
“We missed out on some things due to circumstances beyond our control,” Jensen said, “such as meeting with our congressional delegation. But we were able to do some things we haven’t done much of in the past, such as getting into the Supreme Court chamber, the Senate chamber, visiting the Air & Space Museum at Dulles Airport. This year’s group made our first visit to the Newseum,” which Jensen explained is “an interactive museum focused on the history of news coverage in our country, by newspaper, radio and television.”
The annual tours have included visits to Mt. Vernon, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Jensen’s personal favorite spot, Charlottesville, Va., and a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello.
The 24 hours spent either in an airport or on an airplane on their way home are something the group will remember for at least as long as they remember the trip itself.
The travelers arrived at Dulles Airport at 3:30 p.m. to check in for their 6 p.m. flight. Mother Nature intervened and the flight was cancelled; they finally took off at midnight, which meant they had missed their connecting flight in Denver.
The students claimed sleeping spots on an empty concourse at DIA, making sure they were near power poles with outlets so they could charge all of their electronics while the adults took turns staying awake to keep an eye on the weary teenagers.
They finally caught a flight to Billings and landed at Logan International at 2:30 p.m.
“The adults and students were great throughout the entire ordeal; it gave us some great stories to tell our families and friends,” Jensen said.
Summing up this and the prior trips, Jensen said, “It is a huge commitment in time and money for all of the families involved. I can’t thank these families enough for both providing this opportunity to their children, and allowing me the privilege of accompanying them on tours of our nation’s capitol and sharing my love of American history with them. You have given your children and me memories that will never be forgotten.”