Four Blanchard Middle School eighth-graders placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unkinow Soldier in Washington, D.C. They were (from left, Samantha Valcourt, Olivia Dunn , Sadie Green, Charlotte LoConte. COURTESY PHOTO BY KAREN LAVARNWAY SACCO

Westford Eighth-graders Wrote Essays for the Honor of Laying the Wreath

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Based on essays they wrote, four Blanchard Middle School eight-graders were selected to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery on May 26.

Samantha Valcourt, Sadie Green, Olivia Dunn, and Charlotte LoConte, all wrote essays that were hand selected by Blanchard Middle School teachers in blind readings. The essays were identified only by numbers, according to Derek Parker, a Blanchard eighth grade teacher who served as the D.C. trip coordinator.

The idea came about from a documentary produced by National Geographic about Arlington National Cemetery. Armed with their knowledge of the burial ground, the students were challenged to “write an essay explaining why they want to lay a wreath on the tomb, what it would mean to them and their family, and what the tomb represents,” said Parker.

The group, consisting of 172 students and 18 teachers also visited the Smithsonian Institute, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Zo, and major monuments and memorials in D.C.