A lucky group of local students from Starr’s Mill and McIntosh got an in-depth look at how our government operates at the annual Close Up gathering.
Close Up is a week-long experience in Washington, DC, which provides students with an opportunity to better understand their responsibilities as a citizen participating in our democratic process, helping students understand the importance of being actively involved in local, state, national and international issues.
Before students started the actual Close Up program, they visited the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, National American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, the African-American History Museum, and went to the top of the Washington Monument.
On the actual Close Up program, they participated in multiple workshops such as Political Values, Domestic Issues Debate, and Mock Congress, as well as engaged in “on-site” studies of the monuments (Jefferson, FDR, MLK, Lincoln, WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Eisenhower), Arlington National Cemetery, the National Archives, outdoor White House study, DC neighborhood studies, and several other Smithsonian Museums. Students also attended a theater event after Capitol Hill Day.
On Capitol Hill Day, students met with the legislative staff from the offices of Senator Raphael Warnock, Senator Jon Ossoff, and Representative Drew Ferguson.
They visited the outside of the Supreme Court and learned about the Supreme Court process and the history of the building. Students also got a tour of the Capitol, including Statue Hall, the old Supreme Court room, and Rotunda. They wrapped up their trip by visiting the Capitol one more time, using Senate Gallery passes provided by Sen. Warnock to visit the Senate chamber of Congress.
Starr’s Mill students met with alumnae Brenna Elliot who works for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and provided a “real world” connection of how a Starr’s Mill student could get involved in government and politics.
Starr’s Mill first made the trek in 2001 and has sent a group of Panthers every year since outside of 2020, with more than 1,500 students attending over the years.
McIntosh High sent a delegation of 39 students and 3 teacher-chaperones. The Chiefs have been participating in the program for more than 20 years.