Edwin F. Lattin was a history teacher for many years during the 1970s and early 80s. Like his father before him, he found great meaning and a sense of purpose in this profession, and he thoroughly believed that learning should take place far beyond the walls of a classroom. With this sense of purpose in mind, he began planning field trips for his students to various destinations to learn about the world around them, the history that shaped those places, and the rich tapestry of culture that lies within each destination.
In an era where booking group trips wasn’t as straightforward as a Google search, Edwin’s initial forays with traditional travel agencies proved challenging, as they failed to grasp the unique educational needs of students. Undeterred, Edwin undertook the monumental task of planning these tours himself, while still conducting all of his normal classroom affairs.
Each and every tour Edwin Lattin booked had to be done so with great care, thoughtfulness, resourcefulness, and even (especially) courage. The courage to take a chance on hotels getting the rooms right, or restaurants serving accurate meal orders, or buses showing up on time. Quite frankly, the courage to even dream of booking any trip of such magnitude and believe that it can be implemented and executed successfully. This desire for his students to learn more, and the willingness to dare to make it happen ultimately led Mr. Lattin, Middle School Social Studies Teacher, down a path toward even greater fulfillment.
Ed became so good, so effective at planning field trips for his students, that eventually other teachers, and even neighboring schools and counties took notice and began asking for his help in planning their tours as well. These initial inquiries served as the light bulb moment for Ed, as he realized two things: First, that he could no longer continue doing all of this added work for free and especially with additional tours to plan. Secondly, that he may really be onto something. He took a year’s leave of absence from teaching in the 1984-1985 school year and began planning trips full-time. Those first field trips in 1985 served as the birth of Educational Tours. Mr. Lattin has never looked back and, as they say, the rest is history.
Fast-forward to present day – thousands of tours later, despite world events, national and overseas strife – and Educational Tours still remains a powerhouse and beacon in student tourism. Over 30,000 trip participants travel with Educational Tours annually, equating to hundreds of class-trips each year. We are fast approaching our millionth trip participant in the moments to come, and we’ll soon far surpass that number, which means our schools and our trip participants are as much a part of our history as we are of theirs. This is precisely as it should be, because every trip matters, every student matters, and every moment on tour has the potential for learning, and the likelihood of memories being made. This is what Edwin F. Lattin has created.
To encapsulate the profound impact of an Educational Tours experience, we harken back to the words of a middle school student in 1985 during a Washington DC tour with Mr. Lattin, witnessing a presidential entourage: “I’ve never seen anything so important in my life.”