GCAA Students Join Close-Up to Study Washington D.C.

by JuJu Vieth, 9th grade On June 3, 2012, I was part of the group of ten GCAA students and two teachers (Mr. Frig and Ms. Jagusch) who boarded a plane that took us to Washington DC, our nation’s capital, and briefly to Philadelphia. We participated in the Close Up program, which exists to give students the opportunity to learn more about how their federal government works, how it was established, and how to be good citizens. While in DC, we visited many monuments and memorials, including the Lincoln Memorial, Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, and the Pentagon Memorial. We viewed the original copies of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. We often participated in group discussions and split into groups to do more detailed studies. While at the airport in DC, we had a chance encounter with Senator Claire McCaskill. Close Up’s mission statement is as follows:
Close Up informs, inspires, and empowers young people to embrace the rights of being active citizens in our democracy. We believe that a strong democracy requires active and informed participation by all citizens; therefore we seek to reach participants of every race, creed, geographical community, socio-economic level, and academic standing. To carry out our mission, we partner with educators, schools, and youth organizations throughout the country to help young people develop the skills and attitudes to become informed and engaged citizens. Since 1971, over 740,000 participants have participated in Close Up programs.
Each of the GCAA students made the most of this extraordinary opportunity, and we very much appreciate the efforts of all of those in the GCAA community who made this trip possible. Recently, I used some of my photos (and a few of Mr. Frig's photos) to create this short video to show other GCAA students many of the sites we saw and how much fun we had.