Close Up Washington D.C.


On Sunday, March 5, many Ipswich students, accompanied by Mr. Krieger and Mr. Ames, embarked on their journey to Washington D.C. to learn more about their country’s history and government. This journey began on a brisk Sunday morning, meeting in the high school parking lot at 4:15 am. From there, the students traveled to the airport, beginning their adventure. On their first day in D.C. they explored the Air and Space Museum and the Holocaust Museum. After a long day of traveling and exploring, they headed to their hotel to meet their roommates for the next five days. After checking into their room, they got to listen to a domestic issues debate. During the debate, students were able to see the differences between Conservative and Liberal views on a wide range of topics.

On the student’s second day in D.C., they explored the Jefferson, Franklin, Delano, Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials. After spending most of the day learning about history through the memorials, the students then went to a seminar by Chic Dambach, the former president of the National Peace Corps Association. His seminar was about achieving peace in the world and how peaceful the world is today, which was the final activity of the day before dinner and the nightly workshop. During the workshop that night, students were split into new groups to discuss and debate current issues like college affordability and gun violence in schools. Students were able to voice their opinions and discuss ways to solve these problems.

On the third day, students experienced history through visiting the WWII, Korean, Vietnam, and Lincoln Memorials. At these memorials, students were able to learn about the costs of war and discuss when they feel that war is justified. Next the students traveled to the American History museum and got to explore and learn about the history of our country. After eating lunch, students attended a panel from armed force members from all branches and allowed students to learn about possible career opportunities in the armed forces and more about the armed forces as a whole. After the students ate dinner and attended their nightly workshop, they participated in a Congressional simulation and were able to split up into committees and decide which bills they thought were important and should be passed onto congress so it could be voted upon. This simulation allowed for students to experience what it would be like to be a congress member. Following the simulation, the students went back to their rooms to get some rest before meeting their representatives the following day.

On Wednesday, the students woke up early to get ready for their big day. They all met with their teachers and fellow students from their school and hopped onto the metro. Upon arrival to Capitol Hill, the students were given a tour of the Capitol Building by an intern from their house representative, Seth Moulton’s office. Unfortunately, Congressman Moulton was unable to meet with students due to an unexpected meeting, and Elizabeth Warren wasn’t in her office on that Wednesday. Thankfully, students were able to meet with their Senator Ed Markey and were able to ask him questions and take photos with him. After a long day meeting representatives and exploring the capitol, students ended their night by going to a play called “An American Musical Landscape”.

On the student’s last full day in D.C., they went to Arlington National Cemetery. Here, they were able to experience the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier. The students also got to visit the grave site of former President John F. Kennedy. Along with viewing the graves of many important people, students learned about the history of Arlington National Cemetery. They were also able to go inside the house of  Robert E. Lee, a confederate commander and the reason why Arlington Cemetery is located where it is. Next, students traveled to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture and were able to explore the many interesting exhibits. As the final stop on the student’s trip, they quickly stopped by the White House and were able to take photos and explore a little. Unfortunately, students weren’t able to go inside. To end their trip, students went back to the hotel and had a dance. This was one of the last chances the students had to spend time with their new friends from all over the country.

On the last day in D.C., Friday, students packed up their things and headed to the airport. Ready to travel home after a long and eventful trip. Despite having an hour delay due to snow on their flight home, all of the students had a spectacular time. One of the seniors on the trip, Alyssa Cordes, thought that “the trip was an amazing experience. [She] really enjoyed visiting all of the museums, but [her] favorite part was having the chance to meet Senator Markey, because most people don’t get the chance to meet and talk to their senators.” Alyssa’s mom, Mrs. Cordes, thought that “the trip was a great experience for all of the students. Many people don’t have the opportunity to explore Washington D.C. the way the Close Up trip allowed Alyssa and her classmates to.” Overall, students had an amazing time on their trip to D.C., and they will never forget their experiences on the trip.