2024 Senior Trip to Washington D.C. – Day Three

Great Hearts Academies March 6, 2024

Senior students in front of the US Capitol building

It is Senior Trip time at Great Hearts where seniors throughout our academies have the opportunity to visit our nation’s capitol and see the historical places and context for so many of their discussions regarding human nature, freedom, liberty, justice, and many other ideals and virtues.

“[This trip is] living out the love of community and conversation- students share this experience together. The focus is not simply for a personal experience connected to history or travel, but a communal experience has been one of sharing time, energy, food, and conversation. This trip means nothing apart from community and friendship,” explained Kyle Navarrette, Headmaster at Glendale Prep.

Lincoln Prep seniors had the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Seniors Jadon Kobsar and Ema Torres set the wreath which had a Lincoln Prep ribbon. “Few things in our country hold greater meaning, and we couldn’t be more proud of their decorum and respect as they honored this history, this space, and the soldiers present,” said Senior Humane Letters teacher, Michael Fink.

Follow one senior, Jackie Wang, as she gives us a daily peek at some of the amazing sites they will experience this week through her eyes and in her own words.

Senior blogger for senior trip to Washington DC
Tuesday, March 5th
Written by Jackie Wang, Great Hearts Senior

This morning started off with ample free time. My group went to Ford’s Theatre to see the historic location where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. They had informative exhibitions and artifacts, including the gun used to kill the sixteenth president. Unfortunately, the theater was closed due to a show that is supposed to go up within a week. To make up for the inconvenience, they gave us free admission to the Peterson house where Lincoln was taken after he was shot, and later breathed his last breath. Other groups saw Smithsonian museums and the local attractions.

The "Ford's Theatre" sign

The whole class reconvened at the heart of our legislative branch, the Capitol. Upon entrance, we were greeted with an exact replica of the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol building. We saw an informational video about the history of the buildings before our tour began. We made our way through the first floor called the Crypt which houses an empty tomb that was supposed to house the body of George Washington. There are solid columns that support the whole Capitol building, they serve as a metaphorical and physical foundation for both the building and the country. From there we walked up a marble staircase to the Rotunda. The dome is ornately decorated with a frescoed ceiling, beneath it engraved marble, with a circular frieze, and large paintings containing the history of the colonization in our country. Once we exited the Rotunda, we entered the National Statuary Hall. It houses statues that are either commissioned by Congress or given as a gift. Overlooking the hall is a statue of a woman symbolizing the genius of the Constitution. On either side, there is an eagle and a snake representing wisdom and strength advising her. The purpose of the statue was to redirect the members toward the Constitution when they used it to operate as the House of Representatives. On the opposite wall, a clock with the muse Clio reminds the legislators of the weight of their decisions to history. From there we entered the House of Representatives for a quick session.

The Statue of Freedom in the US Capitol

The Capitol building is a physical representation of the legislative duty our elected officials owe to the American people. The building is a beautiful facility that bears the fruits of the American spirit: freedom, liberty, and patriotism.

The Rotunda at the US Capitol

After that we had even more free time. Students dispersed in small groups to experience the areas surrounding the Capitol. Some groups went to the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the United States Botanic Garden, just to name a few. My group went to the Library of Congress. The original patron was Thomas Jefferson. The building was ornate and a true indicator of Jefferson’s dedication to knowledge and the priorities of the early Americans.

detail of the ceiling in the US Capitol

We had the privilege of meeting Congressman Juan Ciscomani, who informed us about his role in the House, and encouraged us to pursue our own American dream. We asked him questions and his responses were highly patriotic and uplifting.

detail of the ceiling in the US Capitol

The rest of the night was spent making memories in smaller groups and exploring DC further.

The US Capitol building at night

Do you have a story or know of a story that you would like to see featured at Great Hearts?  Please contact jmoore@greatheartsamerica.org.

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