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Two Alabama Students Named Among First America’s Field Trip Winners – Shelby County Reporter

Two Alabama Students Selected Among First America’s Field Trip Winners

Posted 9:49 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Author: DONALD MOTTERN | Editor

MONTEVALLO — American Village and America250Alabama, in partnership with America250, announced that two Alabama students have been named to the inaugural America’s Field Trip Scholarships on Monday, July 8.

America’s Field Trip is a new nationwide initiative that encourages students to reflect on what America means to them. It is organized by America 250, the official, nonpartisan organization charged by the United States Congress with organizing the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In the first year of the competition, thousands of students from across the United States—and from all grade levels—submitted work that answered the question, “What does America mean to you?” From those thousands of individual entries, 75 first-place winners were selected, and another 75 received second-place awards.

Second place winners received a $500 cash prize, while first place winners received an exclusive experience from a list of America’s historic and cultural sites.

The winners included two students from the state of Alabama — Camdyn Martin, an 11th-grader from Chelsea, and Mary H., a third-grader from Birmingham.

In her entry to the contest, Martin submitted a thoughtful essay that highlighted the fact that while America is a great place to live, there is still much work to be done to become a great place for all Americans.

“America means patience,” Martin wrote. “The change I desire will not come immediately. But all good things in life are worth waiting for. Standing firm in supporting minority groups in the United States, and surrounding myself with people whose beliefs are similar to mine, will lead to some change, no matter how big or small. America means a lot to me. It is full of amazing people and opportunities, as well as struggles and oppression. But as long as we fight for a better future, America will thrive and truly earn its title as the greatest country on Earth.”

Like Martin, Mary H. also focused her thoughts on the promise of America’s potential.

“In America, I can be anything I want to be,” she wrote. “My future starts now.”

State Representative Kenneth Paschal, who serves as vice chairman of the Alabama USA Semiquincentennial Commission, congratulated Camdyn and Mary on their accomplishment and for sharing what America means to them. State Senator Arthur Orr, who serves as chairman of the same commission, also expressed the same sentiment.

“We are extremely proud of two Alabama students who were selected as winners of the national competition to field trip across America,” Orr said.

As first place winners, award winners now have the opportunity to participate in one of the following field trips this summer:

  • Visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York
  • Yellowstone National Park Tour and Hike in Wyoming and Montana
  • A Weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Unique tours of the National Archives and Library of Congress in Washington, DC
  • Visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, or the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
  • Visit New York City with private tours of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Museum and Education Center and The Bank of New York, the oldest bank in the United States
  • Explore Boston’s National Parks with a Special Visit to the USS Constitution and a Sunset Cruise to Spectacle Island
  • Candlelight Tour at Fort Point at the Foot of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Experience a costumed role-playing adventure at Alabama’s American Village

“We are grateful to all the students, teachers and families who participated in America’s Field Trip — one of the first major steps in our long journey together toward the Semiquincentennial,” said America250 Chair Rosie Rios. “As we approach July 4, 2026, America’s Field Trip will only grow, engaging thousands of students around our shared history and giving them a platform to actively participate in visualizing our future.”

During the announcement of the winners, it was revealed that two of the 75 first-place winners had chosen American Village as their destination.

“American Village is incredibly excited to be included in America 250’s America’s Field Trip initiative, alongside places like the Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone National Park and the Smithsonian Museum of American History,” said American Village CEO Alan Miller. “We can’t wait to host this year’s winners from Arizona and Maryland. These students have an exciting adventure full of surprises waiting for them at American Village.”