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A Monumental Trip

Photo by: Charlie McDermott

Photo by: Charlie McDermott

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Witness history. Relive history. Walk 30+ miles in 5 short days. Meet people from all walks of life. These are just a few of the things Nicole Ballesteros ‘20, Isela Quinones ‘20, Alexa Apodaca ‘19, Klaudia Coronel ‘19, Sofia Steinberger ‘18, Zoe Sidiropoulos ‘18, Isabella Torregiani ‘18, Lauren Jacobson ‘18, Alexa Gonzalez ‘17, Katie Reigo de Dios ‘17, and Marissa Gerick ‘17 did on their trip to Washington D.C. this past January on the OLP sponsored Inauguration Trip. These girls journeyed to D.C. with Mr. Gonzalez and Mrs. Antolin to embrace the rich history that lies in Washington D.C. and bear witness to not one, but two historical events in one weekend.

Photo by Mr. Gonalez

 

Once the girls landed in D.C. they got moving immediately and went straight to the Tidal Basin off of the Potomac River where they visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Later that day they took a private tour of the Pentagon. Alexa Apodaca ‘19 says that one of the highlights of the trip for her was visiting the Pentagon. Aside from the mysterious atmosphere of being in one of America’s most heavily guarded buildings, students were awestruck by the 9/11 memorial on site. After dinner, the girls settled into their hotel rooms and were able to rest after a long first day.

 

Photo by Charlie McDermott

 

The next day the girls toured the Arlington Cemetery and paid their respects to President Kennedy at the Eternal Flame. Next, they stopped by the Marine Corp War Memorial, commonly referred to as the Iwo Jima Memorial. Then came Mt. Vernon, the plantation house of the one and only George Washington. Marissa Gerick ‘17 remembers with delight:  “I thought it was beautiful. It was hard for me to take in that [George Washington] actually lived there… It had a wow-factor.” Afterwards it was party time as the girls made their way to the EF Inaugural Ball held a day before the Inauguration to accommodate the large amount of EF travellers.

 

Photo by Charlie McDermott

 

Day three was by far, the longest day of the entire trip as the girls woke up at 4 a.m. to head to the Inauguration at 4:45. They walked 4 miles to the National Mall to secure a good view of the event. The group arrived with time to spare and had a decent view. The The event exceeded Lauren Jacobson’s ‘18, expectations: “The Inauguration stood out to me because we got to witness history. It was really cool that we got to see a president sworn into office and the process of how it happens.” The event was truly memorable, one that impacted Isabella Torregiani who believes, “Everyone should visit Washington D.C during the Inauguration because it is a truly inspiring trip!”

 

Photo by Charlie McDermott

 

Day four started on an unforeseen note. The girls finally visited the Washington Monument after passing by it multiple times and were able to view the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution; a history fan’s dream come true. While at the monument, small, steady groups of marchers came from every direction all headed toward Capitol Hill. They had the opportunity to be on the National Mall while the Women’s March was in full swing, allowing them to witness history in the making. Nicole Ballesteros ‘20 said that she “felt a lot of love during the march. I’ve never seen so many people in one place that were so supportive of each other.” The girls took pictures with people holding posters dear to their hearts and even marched for a short while. Many girls noted the difference in the energy felt at the March versus the energy at the Inauguration, and Mr. Gonzalez commented, “Democracy is slow and sometimes unorganized…You’re going to read about these two days together in history class” to which Klaudia Coronel ‘19 excitedly noted, “And we were there.”  

 

Photo by Charlie McDermott

 

After the March simmered down the group went to Madame Tussauds and saw wax figures of all 45 presidents and various celebrities. After a delicious dinner the group went to see the sight that Mr. Gonzalez claimed would make him cry: the Lincoln Memorial. They viewed the Korean War Veterans, Vietnam Veterans, Vietnam Women’s, and National World War II Memorials, then finished the evening at the Lincoln Memorial where, sad to say, Mr. Gonzalez did not shed a tear but rather stood awestruck and speechless. Many girls were moved by these memorials that offered a new perspective of the many lives given for the sake of peace in our nation. Lauren Jacobson ‘18 was heavily impacted by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: “I had a family member that fought in the Vietnam War and being able to show my respect to all the fallen soldiers was just breathtaking.” Viewing these meaningful memorials was the perfect conclusion to the girls’ fourth and final night in DC.

 

Photo from Refinery 29

 

The next day was the last in DC and now that crowds from the events of the previous days had simmered down, the group finally visited Capitol Hill up close and personal. They saw the United States Capitol, Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Alexa Apodaca ‘19 said that visiting the Capitol was her favorite part of the trip: “Thinking that the senators and people from the House of Representatives gather there to make decisions for our country was amazing.” They tried to make a photo stop at the White House, however, Secret Service forced them to leave the area shortly after arriving. Although they didn’t get the ideal White House experience, they certainly got a unique and memorable one.

 

Photo by Charlie McDermott

 

The girls then went to the Newseum for one last stop in DC. There, they learned about the history of journalism in the United States, the right to free speech and its many expressions, and also got the chance to see one of Jimi Hendrix’s guitars. At long last, it was time to board a direct flight to San Diego and conclude a once in a lifetime trip. At the end of this trip, Marissa Gerick ‘17 stated, “I feel more empowered to be involved in politics and what is going on in the world, not just being ignorant. After this trip I feel that I gained perspective.”

This group of 12 OLP girls and two incredible teachers are witnesses to history. They partook in an unique experience that inspired and encouraged them to speak out, not only about their fight for equality and justice, but for the beautiful roots that this country has. The girls were able to see breath-taking monuments that pay tribute to this nation’s leaders. Not only are they a reminder of our past, but they inspire leaders today.

Would they go to DC again? Zoe Sidiropoulos ‘18 says, “I learned so much during the short five days that we were in D.C.; I learned and experienced so many different things while having fun and being with people I care about. Bottom line, I would do it all over again without a doubt.”

 

Photo by: Charlie McDermott
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A Monumental Trip