Ronald Reagan Library Field Trip
“What will be the result if we take this action? What is at stake if we fail, or no action is taken at all? Considering all evidence, weighing all possibilities … what is the best thing to do?”
These are some of the questions 55 eighth graders from Temecula Preparatory School grappled with on a recent field trip to the Reagan Library. The trip was sponsored by the Friends of Ronald Reagan SP whose mission statement includes a whole hearted commitment to “informing and exercising the young minds of the next generation” (Reagan).
At the Reagan Library, these students engaged in a reenactment of an international crisis which occurred during Reagan’s term. Each student was assigned the name and position of a person who was actually a decision maker in the real life event. The students were divided into three groups, one of which was the media. This group met in a mock White House Press Corp Conference Room to receive briefings and make decisions as to what should or shouldn’t be reported. Another group played the part of specific military advisors receiving field reports, diving into debate, and making recommendations to the President, all from a setting that looked just like a situation room in the Pentagon. The third group met in a reproduction of the Oval Office, as members of the Cabinet and Staff whose duty it was to advise the President directly. The final decision was made by the President and communicated on a red "hotline" telephone at the Presidential desk.
Tensions mounted when students were given “real time” updates as the crisis unfolded and as they were “asked to make decisions and defend their positions much like their counterparts 30 years ago.” … Students “were given the opportunity to take part in the dialog, form their opinions, and learn the responsibilities and consequences of actions. The arguments were lively and often impassioned” (http://www.myvalleynews.com).
Mrs.Theresa Heine, a teacher from Temecula Prep, told the Valley News, “Participating in the simulation and touring the Ronald Reagan Library made both the history and the man come alive for these students. They can’t stop talking about how much they learned and how interesting and valuable it was. It has changed the way they look at things already.”
She told Jennifer Kabbany of The Californian that there are “so few things that seem to touch kids and have a lasting effect … this changed the way they look at the office of the president.” When her history classes were initially offered the field trip by Friends of Ronald Reagan SP, she at first hesitated, concerned the field trip might be regarded as “political.” She concluded however, that it was acceptable after all, because, “it’s a presidential library” and “it’s history.” In retrospect, she told Kabbany, “it turned out to be one of the best decisions of her career.”
Mrs. Heine, the students, and two FRRSP Board Members traveled by bus to the Library where they not only participated in the Crisis Reenactment, but were treated to lunch, received a tour of the museum, and walked through Air Force One. All the students wore t-shirts, given by FRRSP, with a picture of the section of the Berlin Wall that stands outside the Library. Mrs. Heine’s observation as reported in The Californian was: “We talked about it in class, then got to see it in real life. One side was loaded with graffiti, and the other side, the side facing East Berlin, was stark, it was a powerful visual.”
In preparation for the field trip, students completed a workbook provided by the Ronald Reagan Library and participated in a presentation on the economics and history of Communism by FRRSP Board Member, Mrs. Susan Weaver.
Mr. Perry Peters, president of FRRSP, is about to embark on a fundraising effort to give this experience to more Temecula students. Please join us in making sure this program is not only financially sustained, but is able to expand. In former President Ronald Reagan’s words:
“By informing and exercising young minds, by transmitting learning and values, you are the vital link between all that is most precious in our national heritage and our children and grandchildren, who will some day take up the burdens of guiding the greatest, freest society on earth.”
1st row (bottom), left to right:
Hope Valente, Isabella Cucuta, Bella Cassone, Mariam Danish, Chelsea Chikwanda, Hope Pham, Aysha Hassankhail, Donald Backlund, Anthony Arambula, Stanley Backlund, Francesca Cervantes, Jessica Burrell, Payton LaPaglia, Alyssa Fenton
2nd row, left to right:
Jasmine Marshall, Hannah Urso, Brenna McGuire, Kevin Chan, Jeremiah Farris, Lawrence Obermok, Emma Schmidt, Andrew Hall, Adam Loop, Cooper McKinney, Ayesha Parikh, Cosette Rijke, Jessica Trautwein, Pilar Correa, Kassidy Currey, Kennedy Currey, Kim Fast, Macailah Williams, Julia Martiner, Amelia Browder
3rd row, left to right:
Mrs. Teresa Heine*, Mrs. Sarah Paul*, Andrew Gamaley, Carlos Solis, Alex Nuno, Mark Poullath, Sergio Dawson, Drew Sims, Geetika Sharma, Zane Bentley, Emily Lilja, Julia Weng, Avianna Winglovitz, Brandon Cassida, Alec Hales
4th row, left to right: Ryan Newell, Oscar Almanzor, Bryce Fuller, Aidan Resnick, Justin Anderson, Christopher Ledestitch, Michael Hanna
Not shown – Charisma Lockhart (late)
* - 8th grade History Teacher Mrs. Teresa Heine
Also on the trip: Tom Tomkins, Roy McCann (FRRSP Board members)