Our trip to the White House

Going to the White House
Going to the White House

My son’s 8th grade field lesson starts Saturday (follow on Twitter or Facebook). It’s a trip we didn’t think he would be on, considering my current employment status. But the school made it quite clear not going was really NOT an option. It is a requirement of the curriculum.

To make things even more interesting, I’ve been asked to be a chaperone. That means 8 days away from home. 8 days to not be working on income opportunities.

At first, I was hoping this would be an experience to share with my son – an opportunity to deepen our relationship and talk about meaningful things – education, politics, the way the world works.

Instead, I find out I will be in charge of 4 students I do not know because my son made sure to group up with 3 other boys (already assigned to another chaperone) who will be taking their PSPs on the trip.

Ah, yes, at 15, “play” is still the highest priority over anything of true life value.

At some point in the next week, I do hope he grasps at least a little understanding of the journey we’re on. I give the teachers creadit… this is a major effort to broaden the mental horizons of these students.

Beginning Saturday, we will travel by bus from McAllen, TX to Atlanta, GA. Our first stop on this education tour is a guided tour of the Georgia Institute of Technoloy, i.e Georgia Tech, followed by a possible visit to Emory University.

On Monday, we head to Washington, DC to visit the Smithsonian and perhaps take the night tour of the National Monuments.

Tuesday includes visits to the Capitol Building, monuments, Smithsonian and, in the evening, the entire class enjoys a Washington Nationals Major League baseball game.

Wednesday is the day for the guided tour of the National Air & Space Museum and…. the White House.

My wife asked me to relay a message to Mr. Obama, should I get within hearing distance. :)

Wednesday continues with the Holocaust Museum and then board the buses for the overnight trip to Chapel Hill, NC where on Thursday we visit the University of North Carolina (hello Roy Williams) and possibly Duke University.

After that, it’s the long trek back to McAllen.

Now, isn’t that a trip of a lifetime?

Most of the costs of this trip have been covered by donations to the school and the kids working all year on fundraisers. Because of our situation – being new to the area, knowing hardly no one – participation in fundraisers has been practically non-existent. Last week we found out we were on the hook for nearly $500.

Uh… yeah, right. So we made the call to withdraw Zable from the trip. No go. It’s a “required” event. Scholarship availability meant Zable could go, but I was out as a chaperone.

Couple days later, got a call from the school. Someone had donated money to help pay for more chaperones. I was back in.


I have no idea what life is going to look like once this trip is over, but I’m going to try to see it for what it is. A once-in-a-lifetime trip with my son – sorta.

I’ll tweet the trip. If you’d like, follow me on Twitter or connect with me on Facebook.