I often refer to Tom Rice as Sir Thomas of Aurora, for like the famous Knights of the Round Table, he is one of the legends worthy of that moniker -- especially in the light of his participating in so many school trips: Cripple Creek, Leadville, the Southwest, the winter excursion to Keystone, Taos, and . . . Washington, D.C. Somehow, he missed Marble and the Grasslands -- or maybe, he was there.
The Washington D.C. trip began in 1988. As you might expect the professorial rather than the warrior side of Tom Rice surfaced. “. . . The class studies the U.S. government in the spring. We have a mock Congress where the students write bills related to current issues. They debate, bring in witnesses, and get a feeling of how the political process works.
The ninth graders and faculty stayed in the basement of the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church. “Unlike other high school trips, our group all stays together, although conditions are rather primitive. We have two bathrooms each for boys and girls, and the teachers sometimes have to sleep on the floor.”
Accommodations aside, the trip provides an educational experience many alumni covet. Mr. Rice summarizes some of the highlights of the six-day trip:
“We’re fortunate in that we can offer some unique experiences. For example, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas talks to our group for two hours, privately in the court itself or in conference rooms. He’s very good with young people and will answer any questions about past cases. We’ve also met with former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and visited the State Department and various embassies.” In addition, our ninth grade scholars attended plays at Ford’s Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and the Arena Stage.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.