Close-Up was an amazing experience for me and the 14 other seniors that traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the program. We flew out extremely early on a Sunday morning, and traveling through the airport with 15 teenagers and one chaperone proved to be an entertaining experience. After hearing Mrs. Flickinger telling us to “find our buddy” and one too many Starbucks drinks, we finally boarded the plane. Once we landed, it was an adventure trying to find all of our bags and the bus that was taking us to our hotel. As soon as we stepped outside of the airport, we realized that we were not in Houston anymore; it was cold. And by cold, I mean that it was less than 30 degrees, but it was exciting nonetheless. And we did get to spend time exploring Georgetown on arrival day.
The week was filled with so many exciting things, including a trip across the very long Key Bridge into Georgetown, visiting five memorials, and learning their individual histories and significance.
“Being able to view each of these unique memorials and seeing how they impacted our country has been an eye-opening experience,” said Kathy Nguyen ‘20.
Throughout the rest of the week we visited an embassy, explored some amazing museums, saw the Supreme Court and even went into the U.S. Capitol. More than that, we got a personal tour by IWA alumna, Gigi Eaton ‘17!
Along with the sights, we also spent a lot of time in our individual workshop groups learning how to grow in our political efficacy. The whole goal of the program was to not only teach us about Washington, but also to educate us on how the American political system works. Our workshop groups debated issues such as gun violence or homelssness. Those debates allowed us to understand how to see the other side of an argument, and we were given the opportunity to look at bills pertaining to the issues and present them at a Congressional Simulation.
This short blog post can’t even begin to encompass all of the amazing things that we did, but check out some of the snapshots from our trip down below!
— Olivia Green '20
The IWA group visits the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.
A dramatic view of the U.S. Capitol.
Mugging for the camera.