A Closer Look

From January 29 to February 1, Aby visited Washington D.C. with over 35 other students and staff from Grand Rapids Public Schools as part of National Close-Up Washington D.C. program. Close-up is a nonpartisan non-profit that informs, inspires and empowers young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Over four days, high school students come together from around the nation learn about government and to experience history in our nation’s capital.


Aby, a sophomore from C.A. Frost High School in GRPS, shares her experience:


How did you hear about the Close-Up Trip?

In history class, my teacher Ms. Rusch started telling us about an opportunity to go on a school trip to Washington D.C. I was so excited. I went home that night and told my mom that I wanted to go.   She said that I had to ask my dad, but she ended up talking to him for me!


Why were you interested in this trip?

When I was little, I wanted to be President of the United States. I remember in fourth grade, we did a project on Abraham Lincoln, making tall hats. Barack Obama was president, and I told my mom that I wanted to be president just like him. My mom told me that if I worked really hard and go for my dreams, anything is possible.

This trip was a chance to see the capital. To actually be closer to politics and to learn more.


What was your favorite part of the trip?

Seeing the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. I always looked up to him and to Rosa Parks. I have the same birthday as Rosa Parks. I look up to what they did for our country. It was inspiring to see the memorial.

Also, the quote on the Korean War Memorial: “Freedom Is Not Free.” All the freedoms that we take for granted.


Would you recommend this trip to your friends?

Yes! The program is called Close-Up and you actually get a closer look into Washington D.C. that people normally get to see. They really explain things to you. You get to learn what is happening now. You talk about recent and relevant things that really matter now.



The Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation provided a grant to help fund this trip through the Joan P Secchia Endowment Fund.

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