Four Dempsey Middle School students have been chosen for the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the school's annual trip to Washington, D.C.
The trip will run May 12-16. The wreath ceremony will be held May 14.
A total of 293 eighth-graders, 24 chaperones and a nurse will make the trip on six buses.
Twelve students entered a contest and had to explain why they wanted to be the ones to lay the wreath. Students wrote poems, sang songs, presented a slideshow and created art to explain the historical significance of the tomb and why they wanted to be chosen.
A panel of four retired teachers and Assistant Superintendent Brad Faust chose Dominic Byers, Keegan Lammers, Ethan Watts and Zach Williams to do the honors.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in Arlington National Cemetery. An unknown soldier from World War I is buried in a white marble sarcophagus with an inscription that reads: "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."
"The students work really hard and it is such a huge honor when chosen," said Lisa Giddings, eighth-grade science teacher and trip coordinator.
Some of the students wanted to lay the wreath because a sibling had done it in the past; others because they had family members who were stationed at Arlington; and some just for the honor in itself.
"All the students who go on the trip watch while the wreath is laid," Giddings said. "There is the changing of the guard, and then the four students follow a soldier down to the stairs as they play Taps."
During the trip, students also will take a Potomac River dinner cruise, go shopping at the Pentagon City mall, have dinner at the Medieval Times Dinner Theater in Baltimore and attend a dance.
Students also will visit famous monuments and memorials such as the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
"This Washington, D.C., trip is very important to our school and to our students, and it's important that our community can have insight into our plans and events," Giddings said.