At the beginning of the semester, six Fenger High School students were chaperoned by their principal, Elizabeth Dozier, and Dean of Men, Donald Gordon, on a trip to Washington, D.C. The trip was planned in collaboration with one of Roseland's faith-based community organizations, Lilydale Baptist Church. The trip sought to broaden the students' horizons with an in-depth investigation of our nation's capital.
Students were able to go sightseeing and see historical monuments such as the Vietnam War Memorial where one student remarked, "When I first saw the memorial I remember thinking this is so cool, but then as I looked closely at the memorial I began to realize the significance of the names of the people on the wall. These people were soldiers who died for our country."
In addition to seeing other sites and sounds around Washington, students also were given an opportunity to experience the functioning of the federal government first-hand. A visit to the U.S. Capitol gave the group a better understanding of the law-making process.
After the visit to the Capitol, the students went on a tour of the White House and met with U.S. Secretary of Education, and former Chicago Public Schools CEO, Arne Duncan. The six students were able to discuss education topics and share their experiences as Fenger students with Secretary Duncan.
Students reflected that they felt empowered by their Washington experience. Senior Antoine Weeden said, "It was my first time, I felt so happy to be there. I did not want to leave. It seemed so interesting and there was so much that I wanted to explore."
This trip served both as an educational experience and a source of motivation for the students to serve as leaders in their school and beyond. Exploring Washington, D.C. and its historical significance was a wonderful opportunity for the group. And in the future, Fenger students have set their sights on an even bigger tour: Italy.
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