St. Johns Country Day School's Class of 2020 took the learnings from their fall Government class on the road last week with a four-day trip to Washington, DC. A whole-class trip is always a fantastic opportunity-- for class bonding and much more-- but for the senior class, it served as much more. It’s the starting gun for their last semester of high school, and the only whole-class trip they’ve taken since Grade 8.
“This was a curriculum-based trip with truly amazing on-site instructors,” said US Government teacher and Senior Class Sponsor Mrs. Gayle Garrison. “The trip instructors specialize in Washington, DC, and they really helped our students think about and discuss the deeper issues in what they experienced, instead of just sightseeing.”
Students focused on the three branches of government by visiting the Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court and having in-depth conversations at and about each. They also discussed foreign policy and visited the Embassy of Finland and the United States Institute of Peace, which is a national, nonpartisan, organization established by Congress in 1984 as an independent institution dedicated to the nonviolent prevention and mitigation of deadly conflict abroad.
Students also focused on how citizens participate in our democracy and went to Arlington National Cemetery, where they had an interesting conversation about the criteria for being buried there. And while at the White House, students listened to and interacted with various people protesting out front.
"I learned so much in the US Government class and thought I knew it all,” said Senior Jack Hodges. “But then I went on this trip and learned so much more and was able to really understand it seeing it put into practice."
"This trip gave students the chance to have the things they learned in a textbook come alive,” added Mrs. Garrison. “They were able to ask tough questions directly to their Representative in the House as well as their Senator, and discuss the idea of war, peace and memorializing. Students got a thoughtful, hands-on exploration of the three branches of government and their role as citizens and the trip brought much of what they’ve been studying into crisp focus as these students begin registering to vote and get ready to head out into the world on their own.”