STOCKTON, CA - Nearly two dozen seventh and eighth graders from Stockton are watching a year's worth of planning turn sour because of the federal government shutdown.
The students from Benjamin Holt Preparatory Academy took a red eye flight to New York Sunday night and visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on Monday.
But they awoke Tuesday to find their scheduled visit to Independence Hall in Philadelphia had to be scrapped because many federal landmarks are closed.
Wednesday's planned tour of the National Archives and U.S. Capitol have also been cancelled along with Friday's trip to the Smithsonian complex.
Parent and program leader Rich Allyn said he's been scrambling to find alternate attractions not under federal control, and was pleased to learn Arlington National Cemetery would remain open for a scheduled wreath-laying on Wednesday.
"These people who are supposed to be running our country, that we voted for, can't even figure things out," Allyn said in a call from Philadelphia. "It's very upsetting sometimes. It really is."
Stacey Nunes said her 13-year-old son, Andrew, raised the entire $2,038 cost of the trip himself.
"I'm outraged that this has happened to them, that this once-in-a-lifetime experience has taken a completely different turn," she said.
Allyn, who was on his third school trip to the East Coast, said he's trying to turn the government shutdown into a positive experience for the kids.
"They're seeing history in action," he said.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net