Earlier this month, a group of Berlin High sophomores enrolled in the advanced placement course U.S. Government and Politics spent a week in Washington, D.C. discussing complex political issues with fellow teenagers from across the country.
The trip was organized by the Close UP Foundation. Since 1971, the non-profit has united more than 900,000 students and teachers to engage in civil discourse at some of our country’s most iconic sites.
The BHS students who embarked on the Washington trip were Kyle Carlone, Jonathan D’Amore, Garrett Fallon, Jacob Ferland, Griffin Hilbie, Lindsey Leary, Harrison Lombardi, Sean Malone, David Manafort, Jaime Palmese, Olivia Salina and Jacob Wagner.
During their time in D.C., Berlin students visited the White House, the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and many more historically-significant landmarks. At each stop, a critical question was raised for the students to discuss. For example, at the Jefferson Memorial, they were asked: “How do the rights outlined in the Founding Documents apply to our view of liberty today?”
One highlight of the Washington trip came on “Capitol Hill Day,” when BHS students engaged with U.S. Rep. John Larson, who represents the 1st District, which includes Berlin, and were able to meet with the Legislative Correspondent and the Legislative Aide to Connecticut senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.
During their time with Larson, Social Security and its future was a topic of conversation.
U.S. Government and Politics teacher John Line accompanied the BHS students to our nation’s capitol.
“This is really ‘Government Camp,’” Line said of the experience. “Students are immersed in the Washington D.C. experience, and they consider controversial issues and try to discover some solutions. They are working with students from other states and, in our case, we worked with students from Oklahoma and Texas.”
Line added, “We’d also like to give a shout out to the Lions Club, who has helped us with the cost in the past with a donation.”
Jack Carroll is a Berlin High School senior.