Invasion of eight graders return

bandIt’s a rite of spring – the eighth graders are back.

Normally, I love spring for its tour work after a couple months off, but hate it for the heavy crowds around the National Mall. Believe me, tour guides earn their money in the spring.

The biggest problem with eighth graders is they hog the sidewalks. I often joke they don’t teach walking to the right until ninth grade. Otherwise, I get it having been 13 once and raising two kids. They’re away from home and parents for the first time with their friends, chasing the opposite sex and just having fun. If they notice the monuments and remember anything more than Thomas Jefferson brought macaroni and cheese to America, it’s a success.

Life is short and I seldom lead eighth grade tours. I’m busy enough and those are long, 15-hour days of endless energy. Those guides are amazing to handle everything.

But I decided to try an eighth grade group in town. A Christian school from Raleigh, N.C. that I figured would be good kids given religious schools don’t tolerate nonsense.

Fortunately, I guessed right. The group of 40 was amazing. Smart, respectful, engaging – everything you desire. They even laughed at a joke. That the leaders wanted me to discuss the religion of Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln and King was an added bonus.

So next time I won’t snarl when seeing an eighth grade group coming at me. That is, unless they won’t move to the right.

Share the sidewalks.

(Photo above is last year.)

About Rick

Rick Snider is a native Washingtonian, long-time journalist and licensed tour guide since 2010.
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