Toronto High students see Washington up close

TORONTO – Fourteen of the city high school’s seniors had the opportunity to see how government works during their Close Up visit to the nation’s capital March 3-8.

The students had the opportunity to see monument after monument as well as experience some moving moments in their study of the federal government, according to senior John Rodesh.

“We stayed in Arlington, Va., with other students from this area and across the country,” he said.

“We went to learn about how things work politically and how to debate in a civil manner,” said Brad Melville.

Students mostly paid their own expenses for the trip, traveling by rail and staying in a hotel. They raised funds through donations from local organizations and businesses as well as holding “a lot of fundraisers,” according to Principal Maureen Taggart.

Some of the sites seen included Arlington National Cemetery, where they witnessed the changing of the guard; the U.S. Marines Iwo Jima monument, as well as the Korean, Vietnam, World War II, Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt monuments.

“John F. Kennedy’s grave is in Arlington Cemetery,” said Rodesh, adding they also visited embassy row. “We also went to the Smithsonian Institute and the Holocaust Museum. We were given tours of the senators’ and representatives’ office buildings as well.”

Students also had the opportunity meet U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, as well as visit the White House.

MyKenna Risler said she was excited to have gone on the trip.

“We got to see some of the government’s function and debates, the monuments and how nice everything is,” she said.

“It was kind of a precursor to college and getting out in the real world,” said Rodesh. “You got to see a bigger city. It brought that to life. It focused on government and the world.”

“It was a great experience,” said Melville. “It put us in a place with people we didn’t know. It got us ready for the college experience.”