D.C. trip results in ‘yeas’ not ‘nays’

To celebrate the end of the academic year, the social studies department took AP U.S. History and AP Government students to Washington, D.C. on May 15.


Sahana George

Welcome to D.C….Touring the U.S. Capitol, junior Anna Stratton meets U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick of Pa.’s 1st congressional district. Stratton went to D.C. along with fellow social studies students on May 15.

Through exploring various memorials and museums along the National Mall and touring the Capitol, students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in U.S. history and politics on May 15.
Social studies teacher Jessica Muller hopes the D.C. trip gives students more admiration for what they’ve studied in AP U.S. History and AP Government.
“I hope that [students] gain maybe a renewed love for the history of our country, but also an appreciation for the government and everything that happens there,” Muller said.
Social studies coordinator Jennifer Reed-Duka said when she taught at another school district, she would take her students to D.C.
“I just think it’s a great way to end the year,” Reed-Duka said. “There’s so much there just to explore.”
Muller has also taken AP Government students on field trips in the past, but those opportunities have since dwindled due to COVID-19.
“We really wanted to have an incentive offered to people that took AP Gov and [AP U.S. History] to celebrate at the end of the year,” Muller said. “So [going to D.C.] just felt like the right time.”
Students spent the first part of the day exploring the many monuments and memorials throughout the National Mall.
Junior Naomi Thompson said she found the Korean War Veterans Memorial’s Wall of Remembrance particularly moving, which lists the name of each American and Korean Augmentation to the United States Army soldier that died in the war.
“Everything was put in perspective for me like how many people [died] and how big of an impact [it was] because you could see each individual name,” Thompson said.
Other memorials and monuments students visited include the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial.
Later, students took part in a structured tour of the U.S. Capitol where students met with U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania’s 1st congressional district.
According to Reed-Duka, touring the Capitol is a “great opportunity.”
“Instead of imagining the Senate and imagining the House, [students are] actually going to see it,” Reed-Duka said. “Hopefully, it’ll [encourage students] to continue to stay involved in some respect with what’s happening in our country.”
Junior Molly Tisoskey said that she enjoyed visiting the Capitol’s Rotunda, a domed room with paintings lining the walls depicting scenes from early American colonization and the American Revolution. The painting “The Apotheosis of Washington” in the Rotunda’s canopy is outlined by a frieze chronologically depicting American history from Christopher Columbus to the Wright brothers.
According to Tisoskey, the Rotunda’s central fresco was the most interesting with its various symbolic features.
“Each and every detail of the painting really did mean something, even down to the rainbow that George Washington sits on,” Tisoskey said.
For Thompson and Tisoskey, going to D.C. was a valuable experience.
“It’s really important to be able to immerse yourself into a significant part of history,” Thompson said. “Once you put yourself [in D.C.], you can kind of see how the country puts itself together because this is a building block to that.”
Muller said that she hopes the D.C. trip will become an annual event.