Last week I got the chance to visit Topeka during school hours. Of course, what middle schooler could possibly refuse getting to skip a whole day of school?

Not this one.

I, along with seven other students and my science teacher, Mrs. Bartel (who also teaches Kansas history), went to the state capital on Kansas Day last Thursday.

The day was filled with a lot of informational activities, which included reenactments, looking at historical objects, and sitting in on a few governmental meetings.

Not only were the activities of the day exciting, but the actions of the day were really cool…literally.

My “school day” began at 7 a.m. It was still dark outside, and there was a slow, steady snowfall. It was cold. After all eight of us students, and the one teacher, climbed into a school vehicle, we were off on a two-hour trip to Topeka. Also, along the way, snow fell.

Upon arriving at the capital for Kansas Day activities, we were met with one of the infamous elements our state can be known for: cold. Those of us who only wore a coat (no hat, gloves, etc.) about froze on the one-block walk (or slide, as it may have been) to the Capitol.

Once inside, we were treated to all that I listed at the beginning of my column, along with cake, a couple sightings of the governor, and one too many rounds of “Happy Birthday” and “Home on the Range.”

We also sat in on a couple of meetings. At one of the meetings, they featured a little 4-year-old girl who, in my opinion, is a genius. She knew the holder of what seemed like almost every government position, all presidents, which president each one was (for example, Lincoln was No. 16), and their wives. She also knew every word to Lincoln’s “Four Score and Seven Years Ago” speech and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

But that wasn’t the most exciting part of the trip (was it, Mrs. Bartel?). Due to the freezing temperatures, we went out to our vehicle only to find that the battery had passed on to a better life. Our teacher went into a governmental building, while we students tried to behave back at the vehicle.

It was kind of interesting feeling like the government was there to help you personally. By the time our battery was ready for the trek home, we had had three capital patrol cars parked behind us.

Who says our tax money isn’t put to good use?

* * *

UFO: On Jan. 20, 1973, the temperature was only minus 16 degrees in Deadwood, S.D.. But in Lead, temperatures were 52 degrees. The two cities are only 1.5 miles apart!

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