DC Diaries #1

On Saturday November 24th, Coach Collins and eight De La Salle students ( seniors – Allie Edgecombe and Brody Taylor; juniors – Casie Babin, Briana Mejia, Kayla Neville, Elaina OHalloran, and Elizabeth Wesley, and freshman – Devin Lockett) departed New Orleans to spend a week on Washington DC taking part in the weeklong Close-Up Program.
The program did not begin until Sunday evening, but the early travel accommodations allowed the group to do some site seeing on our Nations Capitol prior to the start of the program. On Saturday, the group visited the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue. This museum recollects the history of the media with special exhibits on the Berlin Wall, September 11, 2001, the first amendment, and the evolution of the media. De La Salle alumnus, Jeff Chappuis, is pictured in the history of media exhibit, as he worked in radio covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Upon leaving the Newseum, the group then visited Union Station and went on a night time bus tour of Washington DC. The many monuments and buildings are beautiful when lit up at night. The group braved the freezing temperatures for the first half of the tour and sat on the open air top level of the bus for the first half of the tour. The group enjoyed the second half of the tour in the climate controlled bottom level of the bus.

On Sunday morning, the group attended mass at St. Patrick Church just blocks from the White House in DC. The church was built in 1792 and is surrounded by beautiful stained glass windows. After mass, the group visited the National Archives where they saw the original copies of The Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and Bill of Rights, and a copy of the Magna Carta. They also viewed a special exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis. After a break for lunch, the group then visited Arlington National Cemetery. While at the cemetery the group paid their respect at the burial site of President John F. Kennedy ( on the 49th anniversary of his burial), witnessed the prestigious changing of the guard ceremony at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and visited Arlington House, the pre Civil War home of Robert E. Lee and his family. The home and the land it is located on was seized by the Union Government during the war and Lee and his family never returned.

Today the students visited the monument memorials for both Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (the newest of the major monuments in DC) and discussed each of these peoples view of government and civil rights in their individual eras. This afternoon, the entire program traveled to colonial Williamsburg, Virginia where tomorrow they will Be exposed to Colonial Life in America.

Today the teachers went to Arlington National Cemetery in the morning for a wonderfully detailed guided tour by a member of the Close-Up staff and also enjoyed an informative speech from Ken Vogel from POLITCO on campaign financing and spending and the fiscal cliff. After lunch the teachers also traveled to Williamsburg where they enjoyed a traditional colonial tavern dinner at historical Kings Arms Tavern. Tomorrow the teachers will visit Fort Monroe where Jefferson Davis was held captive during the Civil War.

We will continue to update as the week progresses.

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