Students Attend Close Up Trip in Washington DC

Every year, Katy ISD participates in a trip called Close Up. Close Up is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to take students to the nation’s capital, Washington DC, for a week. This year the Close Up trip was held from Jan. 21 to 25.

“It felt absolutely surreal,” junior Lexi Abernathy said. “The artwork and architecture of the Capitol building is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There were many statues of important American figures and paintings of events that shaped our country’s history, such as conflicts with Native Americans. It inspired me to pay more attention to the incredible detail of the historical architecture of Washington DC as almost every building has history to it.”

In Washington, students participated in many activities such as visit museums, famous memorials, and tour government facilities.

“Some of the places we visited included the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial, The MLK Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Korean War memorial, the Marine Corps Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, the Newseum, the Holocaust Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court, the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, and the Capitol Building,” junior Brigid Ard said. “My favorite part was definitely visiting the Lincoln Memorial and standing where MLK Jr. made his ‘I have a Dream’ speech. It was very moving and almost empowering to be in the presence of great representation of a great leader.”

Close Up was started to give students a hands on experience of their government so they not only get to visit government sights, but talk and interact with government officials.

“On our Capitol Hill day, we actually got to witness government officials openly debate about the shutdown and what measures the President should take to reopen it as soon as possible,” Abernathy said. “Also, it was interesting to hear our US Representative of Texas, Pete Olson, share his stance on different popular topics such as the wall, immigration and what it’s like to be a government official.”

Students at Close Up also enjoy interacting with groups of students from other schools and states.

“It was absolutely incredible,” Abernathy said. “Not only was it exciting to meet new people, but it was cool to hear their opinions on different topics. My favorite part of the entire trip was actually becoming really close with my roommates who are from Los Angeles, and although we had differing opinions on the government, we were able to become the best of friends.”

Overall students love Close Up because they get a week of school, without losing exemptions, to visit the nation’s capital and all it has to offer.

“My experience with this trip could not have been better,” Ard said. “Learning about the history of these incredible monuments and buildings and being able to be taken seriously while talking about many issues. I feel people our age aren’t given enough respect for what they believe, thus discouraging their continuation with politics. And I learned how to communicate effectively, and how to speak respectfully to those you don’t agree with.”

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