RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — To say Jason Hatfield is a history buff is a massive understatement.
The eighth grade social studies teacher at Alston Ridge Middle School in Cary has an obvious thirst for knowledge, so his recent trip to Washington D.C. was the perfect way to experience history like few others.
Hatfield was one of only a few dozen teachers nationwide chosen to participate in the White House History Teacher Institute—a week-long trip to our nation’s capital to experience and participate in adventures few can imagine.
When asked about his favorite experience, Hatfield described a visit to the Blair House which essentially serves as a guest house for dignitaries visiting the White House.
“I was in front of the window where Emperor Hirohito met with the Fords,” said Hatfield when describing the history meeting from decades ago.
“I don’t have words. Titans of history stayed in this place. That is the first thing that pops into my head,” he said.
But the trip isn’t just a trip for a deserving teacher—it is an opportunity to create ideas and content for their students.
“When we go to the National Portrait Gallery, we’re doing these exercises in how you can incorporate historical portraits of history into the classes,” Hatfield said. “It makes you say ‘what [can] I do to make my class better?'”
The trip also allows discussion with fellow teachers.
“You’re collaborating with teachers from all around the country who have their own backgrounds, perspectives. You talk together. You get ideas for new lessons, so I want to talk about this,” Hatfield added.
The tour is free for the participants and is funded by the White House Historical Association which was created by First Lady Jackie Kennedy.