Closeup: Washington, D.C.

Written by Daniel Radka|
Photographs from Political Club students|

Washington, D.C. can be considered the epicenter of modern democracy, an epicenter that eleven Morgan students visited over April Break. These students from the Morgan Political Club participated in the Closeup Program, a nonprofit organization that gives students from all over the country an in-depth and “close up” look at our nation’s government. The program takes students to many monuments and memorials, as well as the White House and the Capitol Building. Closeup scheduled meetings with each schools’ representatives or their staffers.

The Morgan students enjoyed the trip and thought it was a great experience. Sophomore Noah Scarpace said, “It was an overall fantastic week and a great opportunity to meet new people and understand their views on current political events… I would do it again if I had the opportunity.” Noah especially enjoyed meeting with Congressman Joe Courtney’s Foreign Policy and Military staffer because he answered questions about the Naval Academy recommendations.

English Teacher and Political Club Adviser Eric Bergman said, “the trip met, and in some respects exceeded my expectations, having gone three years ago, it was a very beneficial trip, but this time it seemed to be better. The students that we took this time seemed to not alone be interested in the tourism aspect of the trip but also the political dialogue. The true benefit of a tip like this is engagement with students from around the nation.”

The highlight for Mr. Bergman was meeting teachers from all over the country (he roomed with a teacher from California). He highly enjoyed discussing the demands of public school teaching today with his fellow teachers. Mr. Bergman also described the political landscape of the program stating that “some of the students were surprised at how conservative some of the other students were. It forced them to confront their own political ideologies and truly examine what they believe and why they believe it.”

Students were completely immersed in other cultures in their workshops and even in their own hotel rooms. Two students from the same school would room with two students from another school. Sophomore Caleb Adams roomed with Daniel Radka and two students from North Dakota. “Although their lifestyles were much different than ours, it was really cool to experience how other people live. For example, one of my roommates lived on a ranch with 400 head of cattle. He even explained how to birth a calf and how to slaughter a cow.”

Close Up provided the Morgan Political Club students with a range of positive experiences and political discussion. The club is thinking about going again with the same program in one or two years. If any students are interested in joining the Morgan Political Club or traveling to D.C. in future years, see Mr. Bergman next fall.

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