Washington D.C. trip plans underway for April

Sylvia Kline, Writer

After nearly three years of canceled school sports, trips and additional activities, the Fenton High School Washington D.C. trip is making its comeback this April. The trip is facilitated through the Close Up Foundation— a non-profit, nonpartisan organization— and coordinated by FHS history teacher Patricia Gray. This four day trip is open to all students grades 9-12. 

Unique in nature, this trip pairs two FHS students together with two other students from another high school as roommates in an effort to create interpersonal relationships. Additionally, contrary to typical high school field trips, the participants fly to D.C. instead of traveling on a bus. 

The first day includes visits to monuments like the Martin Luther King Jr., Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and US Marine Corps memorials. On the second day, students will visit the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and have the opportunity to ask their most pressing political questions to both a liberal and conservative D.C. insider. The third day includes visits to a further number of poignant monuments, including the World War II Memorial, Vietnam War Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. Additionally, students have the opportunity to explore any Smithsonian Institution of their choice and attend a national politics seminar where they will discuss the nation’s current issues with either lobbyists, journalists or policymakers. They will also participate in a mock Congress debate with their peers and have open discussions on issues member of Congress are facing. The last day, which Gray describes as her favorite, is Capitol Hill day. Over the course of Capitol Hill day, students visit the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. Participants also meet with their Congressman and get to have powerful conversations with them.

“We get to meet with our Congressman and some of them have given us quite a bit of time,” Gray said. “They’re so happy to see the students and the students are usually pretty mesmerized by them. It just feels unreal.” 

The trip is slated for April 16-19 and the missed school days are excused absences for all participants. The total cost of the trip is $1,597, with numerous fundraising opportunities leading up to the trip for those who are interested.

To any students still considering, according to Gray, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

“Absolutely do it,” Gray stated. “It is well worth the money and it’s one of the best ways to learn about the world.”

For more information, visit the Project Closeup website, or contact Gray at [email protected].