Eighty members of the Cinnaminson Middle School Unity Club, along with staff and parent chaperones, and Unity Club co-advisors Melissa DeClementi and Alison Palat, traveled to Washington D.C. Nov. 30, as part of their plan for Unity Day 2013, "Take a Stand...Lend a Hand."
They departed the middle school bright and early at 6 a.m. in order to be at the Capitol for a brief meeting with N.J. Rep Jon Runyan. Runyan posed for a group photo with the club and then went on to speak to the students about service and the sacrifices of our military.
From there, the participants headed to the White House for the holiday tour. While standing in line for security, there was a sighting of a Presidential helicopter leaving the White House.
Throughout the tour, students observed the many Presidential portraits, and the many holiday decorations, including the gingerbread White House. After the tour, they visited the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial Wall, the Korean War Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial.
The highlight of the trip was their participation in the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Shortly before Thanksgiving break, Unity Club students were asked to write personal essays for a contest in order to be the one of two students to lay the wreath and actually be part of the ceremony. The essays were titled, "What Laying the Wreath at The Tomb of the Unknowns Would Mean to Me."
Eileen Baker and and a committee of teachers judged the essays and the winners were 7th-grade students George Snedden and Riley Nesemeier. The Unity Club members watched in awe as they were able to witness the breathtaking Changing of the Guards ceremony and then watch their own classmates as well as Principal Frank Goulburn and teacher Robert Spier be part of the ceremony.
Many thanks to the staff chaperones Mrs. Raleigh, Mrs. Baker, Miss Acchitelli, Mr. Spier, Mr. Belsky and Mr. Goulburn. Another special thank you to the Unity Club parents for supporting our club and to our parent chaperones, Mr. Sonnie, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Nesemeier, Mrs. Cook, and Mr. Ambos, grandfather of George Snedden for participating in the day with us. Thank you also to our Home and School for purchasing the beautiful wreath for our ceremony. This was a once in a lifetime experience and something the participants and witnesses will remember forever.
—Submitted by Melissa DeClementi and Alison Palat, Unity Club co-advisors