- Manuel Jara Elementary School
Fort Worth History Honors Staff Ride Concludes
Washington, D.C - Seventeen honor students from Fort Worth ISD's JROTC U.S. Military History Course spent an entire week coming face-to-face with the past, learned from the present and contemplated the future on the JROTC Department annual Staff Ride.
A Staff Ride is an experiential learning opportunity that places students "in the moment" at the sites of various historic and current events.
“The 2019 Staff Ride was a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to deepen understanding of themselves as a citizen leader,” said Joseph Niedziela, director of Social Studies. “At each site, students were asked to do more than recall dates, people and events that happened there. They bridged connections between past and present. They learned the ways in which history informs our beliefs and how our values guide actions.”
This year, JROTC students from Young Men’s Leadership Academy, North Side High School and South Hills High School walked the battlefield at Antietam (Sharpstown), retraced the history of Harpers Ferry, met with both U.S. Representatives Kay Granger (R) and Marc Veasey (D), placed a wreath at Mount Vernon, received an intimate insight into the daily operations of Arlington National Cemetery, visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture and explored the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition the cadets visited the Washington Mall war memorials, and the Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials.
“Staff Rides offers inherent flexibility and versatility for teachers,” said LTC (RET) Richard Crossley, director of the JROTC Department. “Our recent Staff Ride to the Washington D.C. area was interdisciplinary in approach, bringing in aspects of political science, military culture, international relations, law, literature, loss, art, and philosophy.”
Each day was long. Accompanying teachers challenged students to journal their impressions daily and to write the essay each student will be required to produce answering an over-arching set of important questions.
“Cadets witnessed first-hand emblems of sacrifice, suffering, slavery; heartache, hard-times, hardships, persecution, prejudice, and privation,” said Monita Sharpe, a chaperone and teacher at North Side High School. “Yet they return realizing that devotion, dedication, discipline; passion, patience, and perseverance can cause them to impact, impress, and improve their community, culture and climate just as those who tread before them.”
The U.S. Military History Course was piloted by Fort Worth ISD JROTC students and is a collaboration with V-NEP - the Veterans National Educational Program. Other school districts in Texas and Virginia have now adopted this course of study.