Written by Gabriella Vigorito and Jessica Green
Close Up is a program where students take a trip to Washington DC and stay there for 6 days. This program has existed since 1971, and over 800,000 students and teachers have participated. 98% of them took a survey that showed they would highly recommend the Close Up program.
Morgan students of all age can go. Those who choose to participate will take a train from New Haven to Washington DC. Every day students Close Up provides students with three meals starting with a hot breakfast buffet and then lunches and dinners at various locations. A coach bus provides transportation around the city and 24-hour supervision. This is a great experience for any student who has an interest in government, politics and history. Mr. Bergman said “It is a valuable experience because it takes us out of Clinton.” Below is the schedule for the 6 days the students are in Maryland.
On Sunday students arrive and meet their Close Up Concierge and explore DC. They also go to an introductory workshop and ask their most challenging political questions.
On Monday they examine and debate the proper size and power of government. Next they eat lunch at The Smithsonian American History Museum. Then they visit a foreign country and discuss it, and talk about 911 and how that changed the US foreign policy. Lastly they will have dinner at the hotel.
On Tuesday they will have a war memorial study visit. Then they examine Lincoln’s legacy, and gain inside access and discuss current issues. Next they have lunch at The National Place. Then they visit the US capitol and have an orientation. Lastly they will have dinner at Pentagon City.
On Wednesday, they will meet with the members of congress and the staff. And will attend and observe congressional committee hearings. Then they will explore the US capitol visitors center and museum before lunch at the House cafeteria. Next they will visit the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. Lastly they will have dinner at DC’s Historic Union Station.
On Thursday, they evaluate how citizens will contribute to a healthy democracy and walk through the President’s neighborhood. Then they will go to a neighborhood study visit and eat lunch. Next they will have a banquet and dance.
On Friday, they will start heading home or choose to extend their stay.
Students that went to the Close Up trip from the past have said “I just got back from Close Up, and it’s all we talk about at school. It was one of the best weeks of my life!”, “Close Up was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will change your life forever!”, “Close Up is a phenomenal program that offers the experience of a lifetime for all types of students!” Morgan alumni Angie Cook felt that her favorite part of the trip was visiting the monuments in the city and meeting new people from other states. Morgan alumni Matt Granfield shared, “without a doubt I will stay in touch with the people I met on this trip.”
In an interview with English teacher Mr. Bergman, he said that so far he is the only teacher going. No students have signed up yet. Interested students will go during April break and will raise $1,500 through donations. He said that last time they went it was a wonderful experience. They got to see major landmarks and meet all kinds of new people from all over the world.
However, because of the terrorist threats by ISIS, the trip may be canceled for the safety of our students.