Ever since freshman year, I have been excited to go on the senior trip to DC. Washington, DC is one place that my family and I have always wanted to visit but have yet to explore. When the trip was introduced last year, I could barely contain my excitement. As the trip neared, all I could think about was how much fun it was going to be and how much there would be to see and do. After carefully planning my outfits and re-checking to make sure I had everything I needed, the moment I was waiting for was finally here. When we got home, I couldn’t stop talking about how much fun I had and all of the amazing things I saw. Throughout the trip, I sent my parents and friends back home pictures of the best parts of each day. The trip was jam-packed with all of the exciting features of DC, and despite the sleep deprivation, I had a wonderful time.

My favorite parts of the trip included…

– …taking pictures with the Constitution signers in Philadelphia.This is an annual highlight of the trip for us seniors. Everyone makes sure to take as many pictures as they can while they pose in silly positions and attempt to imitate the statues. My friends and I had a lot of fun doing this, as well as exploring the exhibits in the National Constitution Center. One really cool thing was participating in a mock vote.

– …going to see the Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial at night. These monuments are amazing works of architecture in daylight, but they are even more amazing at night. Each monument symbolizes a different aspect of American History, and seeing them all in a short time period shows the connections and differences between each aspect.

– …going to see the White House. I have always wanted to see the White House. It just mesmerizes me. Although we did not get to go on a tour, it was still a great experience taking pictures in front of the gates and viewing it from the outside.

– …going up in the Washington Monument. This was an unexpected delight. I did not know that we were going to be going up in the actual monument, but when we were handed the tickets, I could barely handle my excitement. The wait was a little long, but the views were worth the wait. It felt like I could see the whole city. I really liked that as we went back down in the elevator, we saw pieces of stone and marble that were donated by various states.

– …visiting the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument. I have always loved the history surrounding both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. When visiting the Lincoln Memorial, I was fascinated by its enormosity and by the engravings of his two famous speeches on the wall. I also fulfilled my dream of taking a “typical tourist picture” with the Washington Monument. The MLK, Jr. Monument was particularly intriguing as well, as there was a long wall with his famous quotes engraved on them and a large stone statue of MLK, Jr.

– …seeing the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon. This was a spectacular tribute. The fact that the memorial consists of benches that are meant for people to sit on and reflect what happened that tragic day is such a cool idea. The benches sort of come out of the ground  so that when you read the name and look up, you either see the sky or the pentagon. The direction you are looking designates where the person perished.

– …observing a vote in the Senate. Although the tour of the Capitol was a bit uneventful, seeing the Senate in action made the trip worthwhile. The Senate was voting on judicial appointments in a chaotic yet organized way. Being in the Capitol was fascinating yet intimidating. It felt very official and grown up to be ushered into the viewing balconies of the Senate and House.

– …going to the Smithsonian Art Archives. This was a task that was assigned to the French 5 students. If we went to the Art Archives and took a selfie with a piece of impressionist art, we would get extra credit. So, a bunch of us went and took pictures, and it was amazing to see the paintings in person.

– …seeing Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center. This is another annual highlight of the trip. Shear Madness is the longest-running play and is essentially a “who dunnit” where the culprit of the crime depends on the votes from the audience. It was highly interactive and especially hilarious when they included our principal, Mr. Falcone, in their antics. The Kennedy Center was spectacular in itself, and the play was even better.

– …the 30-foot tower of books written about Lincoln in the House Where Lincoln Died. This was particularly interesting because Lincoln is one of the most written about people in history. Although the tower was not actually made of real books, it still looked really cool.

Overall, our senior trip to DC was everything that I hoped it would be. I hope that I can go back and visit all of the things that I didn’t end up seeing. I also hope that the DC trip continues to be a successful balance of history and fun.

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“I’m fufilling my dreams of a cliché tourist picture.” – Caroline Gervais Photo by Tim McDermott

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A fabulous view of DC from the top of the Washington Monument. Photo by Caroline Gervais

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