Milton High School’s Discovering Democracy kicks off its 10th year Monday with a stop at America’s historic founding locations before a week of field research in Washington, D.C.

Discovering Democracy Director Val Crofts said he wanted to emphasize the program’s name in this years’ experience.

“On our way to Washington, we will stop off at Valley Forge, where you could argue it all started for our country,” Crofts said. “Then, we will spend time in Philadelphia with stops at Independence Hall and other historic sites. Once in Washington, we will take time out to visit Mount Vernon and lay a wreath at Washington’s grave.

“At the end of our week in Washington, we will pay our respects at the Arlington National Cemetery to bring home the reality that the democracy we celebrate today was achieved through a great deal of sacrifice through history, and it continues to this day.”

Discovering Democracy is a companion program to Milton High School’s Advance Placement Government course Crofts teaches. All traditional AP requirements must be met in addition to the Discovering Democracy studies.

Twenty-five students and five staff members join Crofts for the 2019 version of the program. The students will see historic sites, but it’s not a sight-seeing field trip, Crofts said.

“Our students have chosen topics ranging from child poverty to the role of women in politics,” Crofts said. “They are expected to obtain several interviews and present their findings to a public fair at the end of the school year.”

The students and staff depart Milton High School at 4 p.m. Monday by bus and will return March 25.

Milton teacher on U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission

Milton High School government teacher Val Crofts is serving on the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission charged with planning the national celebration of the nation’s 250th birthday and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


Val Crofts

The commission, created in 2016 by President Barack Obama, has 25 members. Crofts is one of 16 public members on the commission and the only teacher in the United States to serve in that role. Nine federal officials also serve on the commission.

The nation will celebrate its semiquincentennial in 2026.

“I was honored to be appointed to the commission by Speaker Paul Ryan,” Crofts said. “Government and history are my passions, and serving on the commission is another opportunity for me to engage in that. It is also a privilege to serve my country by participating on the commission.”

The commission has met only a few times. Crofts said he’s looking forward to getting down to plans for the celebration, which will be funded by private donations.

“I would say we are all hoping to create a national celebration with events throughout the country in as many communities as possible,” he said. “Of course, we also want a main attraction, if you will.

“I could imagine something similar to a world’s fair in terms of the size and scope of something,” he said. “It could be in Philadelphia or perhaps in Washington. We have time to work all that out. Right now, we are planning on four major meetings of the commission each year.”

Article comments are no longer available on GazetteXtra.

Instead, readers are invited to choose between emojis indicating love, humor, surprise, sadness or anger about articles.

More details on the change are available here.