I went through a great experience during this year’s annual Diversity Project trip. I am going to narrate some of the interesting stories about it.

My friends and I took a trip on June 2nd, 2012 to Gettysburg, PA and Washington DC. The trip included extensive tours of the actual battlefield and visits to the Jennie Wade House, and the Gettysburg National Military Park. We also visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and National Museum of the American History in Washington DC.

One of my most interesting experiences was when I took a bike ride to tour the town of Gettysburg. I was slightly nervous at the start, but once I started biking it felt pretty easy to me. Ever since my bike tour at Gettysburg, I feel very confident. Now, I bike around Tipton Trails every day all by myself.

Personally, I knew very little about the American Civil War before my visit to Gettysburg. In fact, it seemed more like a history lesson and not something I ever thought I would be interested in. After taking the tour of the battlefield and experiencing the many attractions in Gettysburg, I am now eager to learn more and more.

As an example; there was nothing more serene than strolling through a cemetery. It was a great way to reflect on the past, as I read through the carvings on the stones of many lives that were taken during the brutal Gettysburg battle. One can literally spend hours wondering about what life may have been like for those that lived during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Another unique experience was when we went to Washington DC. I had never been on a Metro without my parents before this. I was slightly worried and skeptical of getting on and off of the Metro in Washington, DC. It was very easy after I got used to it.

It was always a dream of mine to visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History. We finally made it to the museums after long hours of walking around the DC area and it was worth it.

In the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, I saw the Apollo 11 space module, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Wright Flyer, and a variety of ballistic missiles. From the space shuttle to the astronaut's suits and cutaways of the Saturn rocket and the lunar module, it was fantastic.

In the National Museum of American History, I saw different types of ancient American currency. I also saw the videos of assassination attempts on different presidents. The staff and security at the museum were very nice and accommodating, and they answered all our questions, helping us with many historical facts.

Driving to Gettysburg and the journey back to Illinois was just fun! I had a great time with Mr. Bierbaum, Sydney, Trevor and Ankur. We listened to an interesting book about baseball and World War II. The book was titled: Playing with the Enemy.

Diverse learning took place during the entire trip. We learned and discussed about the events that marked the American Civil War. As a "rookie scholar" I was nervous about the debates but learned a lot about different ways of thinking by listening. I hope to participate more actively as I grow with the Project.

I really enjoyed playing basketball with my new friends and just chatting about different topics like the wonders of science, nature and American History in the evenings.

My visit to the Gettysburg and Washington D.C. was an opportunity to learn, discover and experience.

Thanks to Jeff, Chief Patti and others for taking us there.

I Iook forward to every opportunity promoted by the McLean County Diversity Project.

- Shreyans Todi, Veteran Scholar
McLean County Diversity Project

Scholar Shreyans on Gettysburg

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McLean County Diversity Project   c/o Jeffrey A. Schwartz   16043 Dorado Road Bloomington, IL 61705