Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chance Encounter

Sen. Alan Simpson, Sen. Craig Thomas, and
Wind River High School Close-Up group
Washington, D.C.
Spring 1995
When Dick Quayle, the social studies teacher at my school, asked if I'd like to accompany him and a group of students to Washington, D.C. for a week, I gladly accepted as I had never been there.

Dick has taken this trip with a group of seniors for decades. Throughout the year, the students earn money for the trip by selling concessions, hosting meals, etc. As a chaperone for the group, all of my expenses, except for souvenirs, was paid.

On the trip, it was my job to keep an eye on the students and to fill in for Dick, if necessary. One day, it was necessary: a foreign exchange student from Germany lost his passport, so Dick accompanied him to the German embassy. Dick asked me to take the other students to the Kennedy Center for their scheduled tour. I managed to wrangle the group to the metro station and on to the Kennedy Center without incident, but I was certainly glad when Dick and Jakob joined us.

Senators Alan Simpson and Craig Thomas
Steps of the Capitol
Washington, D.C.
Spring 1995
One of the highlights of the trip was visiting with the Wyoming Senators (Alan Simpson and Craig Thomas) on the steps of the Capitol.

As the students were asking questions of the Senators, a crowd descended the steps behind our group. Senator Simpson, of course, was facing the steps and knew who was approaching. He said, "Ted come over here for a minute. I want you to meet some kids from Wyoming."

Senators Ted Kennedy, Alan Simpson, Craig Thomas
Immediately, our little group was surrounded by strangers with cameras. "Ted" was none other than Senator Ted Kennedy.

Senators Ted Kennedy and Alan Simpson
Senator Kennedy was very gracious and stayed a bit to answer some of the students' questions. This chance encounter made the whole trip even more memorable for me.


  1. What a great trip. And, what an opportunity to meet your senators and Ted. Thanks for sharing the memories. We lived an hour out of dc for 15 years or so... we hardly ever went there to sight see. we should have as there is so much to see and do around there. Maybe we'll stay at one of our kid's houses and take the Metro into town.

  2. THAT is why I loved going to college in DC. It makes politics personal!

  3. What a great trip! I've been to DC a few times, and never can get enough of it! So much to see and do. And what an amazing trip for those students! Our local school is fund raising for a student's trip to Costa Rica! Why? I don't know! Seems they could be doing a trip to DC a heck of a lot cheaper, and with so much more to offer them! .....I wasn't in the planning!

  4. What a great opportunity! I've only been to D.C. once--in August 2001. It made 9-11 hit home a bit stronger, knowing that we had just been in Washington.


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