Megan Thompson Shares Her Valley Forge Experience

Ben Mixon: Can you explain the events that led you to go to Valley Forge? How did you get to go there and why?

Megan Thompson: Mrs. Holland announced in English class that there was an essay contest we could enter that was sponsored by the Chattanooga Chapter of the Freedoms Foundation. I decided to enter. I worked for about three months with Mrs. Holland writing my essay about Rosa Parks. After I turned my essay in, I waited a long time for an interview. Soon after my interview, the Freedoms Foundation called to inform me that I was one of the winners from Chattanooga.

B: What did you do once you got to Valley Forge?

M: When we got to Philadelphia, we checked into our rooms and met the other kids. That night we had ice breakers, and everyone was assigned to groups. The next day we attended meetings. That morning, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (actors) talked with us about Congress and the amendment process. Then, we went back into our groups to rewrite the proposed Security Act of 2013-2014 and held a mock Congress session.

M: Friday we had the free enterprise challenge—which was like Shark Tank. Our group had to come up with a product and present it to a panel of judges. Saturday we got to go visit Valley Forge and learn about the lives of the people who lived there. Saturday night we had our banquet where we ate a fancy dinner, and awards were handed out. Then we had a signers ceremony where we got to sign a mock copy of the Declaration of Independence. Sunday morning we toured historical Philadelphia, and I even took a selfie with the Liberty Bell. We left for home Sunday afternoon.

B: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

M: If you are going to be a junior next year and want the experience of a lifetime, you should enter the contest. This trip has done so much for me and has completely brought me out of my shell. It was the best thing ever!