Seventeen ninth-grade students and four 12th-grade leaders from Georges Valley High School recently returned from the Trekkers Ride Through History expedition.

Students traveled to Boston, Mass.; Camden, N.J.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Washington, D.C. to explore the sights and sounds of the nation’s history. Through tours, interactive multi-media displays, group discussions and lots of bus time, the students were given the opportunity to learn firsthand how and why the United States was founded. Students also got the chance to discover new things about themselves and their peers, and build new relationships with role models from their community.

The students’ time in Boston included a tour of the Freedom Trail, where students learned about the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. They also visited the USS Constitution, the oldest American war ship, and Bunker Hill Monument, where one of the most important battles of the American Revolution was fought.

Their next stop was Camden, N.J., to partner with Trekkers’ sister organization, Urban Trekkers, in a daylong cultural exchange and service project. Through service and group initiatives, the students learned what it’s really like living in Camden, N.J., the nation’s poorest city.

Traveling just over the river from Camden, N.J., the students continued their trek into Philadelphia, learning about the signing of the Constitution at the National Constitution Museum, visiting the Liberty Bell, running the infamous “Rocky Steps” and eating Philly cheese steaks at Pat’s, arguably the best cheese steak place in town.

After Philadelphia and Camden, N.J., students spent three days in Washington, D.C., visiting a wide variety of national monuments and landmarks, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. They also visited the Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery and the National Archives where they saw the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution. They also took a tour of the U.S. Capitol. For a new perspective on familiar landmarks, the students did an evening tour of some of the most famous monuments, including the Lincoln, Korean War and Vietnam Veterans memorials. The expedition returned home Feb. 21.

This is the 10th year Trekkers has offered the Ride Through History program to ninth-grade students. Prior to the expedition, students and volunteers participated in planning meetings as a way to design the itinerary and, ultimately, begin fostering strong team dynamics and relationships.

For more information on the Ride Through History expedition, including the student log and photographs, visit trekkersonline.com and follow the links to the trip log. For more information on Trekkers, call 594-5095.

Trekkers is a nonprofit, outdoor-based mentoring program that connects caring adults with young people through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education.