EAPrep Students Walk in the Footsteps of Our Nation’s Leaders
By Southwest Key on 09/16/2013 @ 07:54 AM
In May of 2013, East Austin College Prep History Teacher, Jacqueline Vidal, lead a group of students to Washington D.C. as part of the Close Up Program. The Close Up Foundation, a non-profit, nonpartisan educational organization, founded in 1971, organized the trip. They offer students of varying grades an in-depth view of the democratic process through interactive participation.
The Close Up Program is designed to give students and educators an inside look in American government and witness democracy in action. Students get a “close up” view of government, interacting with the people, processes, and places. The students visit all of the historic sites in Washington and meet and interact with students from around the country.
Close Up awarded EAPrep students by covering a portion of the program costs. However, the majority of the costs were paid for with student fundraising. “We reached out to many members of the community and were excited to meet our deadline and get such a supportive response from everyone,” says Ms. Vidal.
“I took the kids to D.C. because I wanted them to see our nation’s capitol and get a chance to walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest leaders in our history. I believe they are our future leaders and I intend to help them grow and discover their potential as much as I can,” says Ms. Vidal.
The trip itself was unforgettable for her class. “Being able to go to Washington was an amazing experience that I never thought would happen to me,” says Lizeth, 8th Grade. Estefanie, 9th grade said, “I had so much fun visiting the Lincoln Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the WWII Memorial. It was such an honor to have had the chance to see those places that have had so much meaning in our history.”
For many of the student’s, it was the first time they had left the Austin area. “Going to the airport, getting on the plane, staying at the hotel and riding together in a big luxury charter bus was a new experience that I am so glad I was able to share with them” says Ms. Vidal.
This trip provided both academic and personal growth. The students learned a great deal and Mrs. Vidal encouraged them to reflect on their time in Washington by keeping journals. “I believe that they grew tremendously during that week and that’s all that matters to me,” says Ms. Vidal.
The best part of the trip for Ms. Vidal was when they went to the Lincoln Memorial. The kids were able to run up and down the steps and take pictures with Abraham Lincoln. “It was truly a memory that I will never forget,” says Ms. Vidal.