Falcons Take D.C.

Trip postponed due to Coronavirus, but sophomores hopeful it will be rescheduled


Courtesy of Sara Teegarden.

Class of 2020 as sophomores posing with a CloseUp Teacher.

Izzy Vallance, Online Editor-in-Chief

Every year, FWCD sophomore students visit the place where the U.S.’s future is being decided every day. A group of faculty will be taking 92 sophomores to Washington, D.C. in May to put into perspective what these 16-year-olds have been studying all year. 

The group visit memorials such as the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the WWII Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. The sophomores visit the FDR and MLK memorials. Additionally, museums like the National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Gallery, American History, Natural History, and Air and Space exhibits are on the itinerary. Some memorials that the sophomores visit at night are the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, and the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial. They also visit some key places on Capitol Hill like the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, the Capitol and an Embassy. 

 Lisa Parker, the Athletics Administrative Assistant at FWCD, is a newcomer to the D.C. trip and is excited to go. 

 “I’ve not gone on any Upper School trip [before],” Parker said “I participate with the ropes course so I interact with upper schoolers on that level. I mean having been a coach in the past, I’ve traveled with a lot of teams so that’s nothing new to me.,” Parker said. 

Parker is particularly enthusiastic about taking this group of sophomores to D.C. because she has a personal connection with the class of 2022. 

“This is my son’s grade level. I do know a lot of the kids, and so that helps I think with knowing names and personalities, too. I think that will be a benefit on both sides,” Parker said.

Sara Teegarden, US history teacher at FWCD and the director of the D.C. trip, is very excited about the new Geographic seminar that will be taking the place of the Newseum study, in terms of information about the role the media plays in D.C.

“We are doing a new National Geographic seminar with Close Up,” Teegarden said. “I’m pretty excited to see how this seminar works with National Geographic and journalism around the world when you’re reporting on different cultures. We’re coming back on Friday this year instead of Saturday because we don’t have the Newseum anymore [Newseum closed in December]. But we’re still trying to make sure that we are actively doing things that show the media side of D.C. as well. This is the first attempt that we’re going to see how it goes.” 

Besides going on the trip because she is the director, Teegarden also enjoys getting to really know the students on the trip and also enjoys seeing that lightbulb pop up when the students see things that they have been studying all year finally being put into action. 

“It’s really fun watching you guys see things in action, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s [what] we’ve talked about it in class and now I can actually see how this all works’ and watching you guys get even more into having opinions but then being informed by more knowledge and understanding how it really works. Trips here are the most magical thing for getting to know students, and every year fun things happen in D.C., every year crazy things happen in D.C.,” Teegarden said. 

Teegarden does not have any qualms about taking 92 students to D.C. this year because she feels like students at FWCD know how to present themselves in a professional manner. 

“I don’t have issues about taking Country Day’s students, anywhere. Kids [will] do things they shouldn’t at times, but our students travel really well. Our students present themselves really well. They know how to buckle down and be professional high school students and they understand expectations and I think if you build a relationship where they want to meet your expectations and you meet their expectations then there’s nothing to worry about,” Teegarden said. 

Andrew Nober ‘21 has experienced the D.C. trip and thinks that it is important for sophomores to go on the trip because it brings everything that the sophomores are learning into a visual reality. 

“You talk about all this stuff and all the mechanics of the government during the class all year long and then to go and actually see it in action and to see the buildings where it’s housed and to go through the Supreme Court and the Capitol building…it’s kind of a different feeling to be there and see the bench where they made these decisions,” Nober said. 

Nober personally imbibed more information about the U.S.’s history through touring Capitol Hill and hearing the facts about America’s past.  

“I learned more about the Capitol building on the tour there and some really interesting things about our nation’s history and the importance of our nation’s history. It really gave me a deeper meaning about our collective past,” Nober said. 

Every year, sophomore students write a paper proposing legislation that takes on a national issue.  Nober is in favor of the policy paper because he believes that it gives sophomores the full picture on a specific issue and teaches them that there are many sides to a seemingly simple issue. 

“I think it’s really helpful to go super in-depth into one issue and find that there are so many sides to something that you think is so simple,” Nober said. 

Nober recommended to the sophomores that they should take the project piece by piece instead of trying to crank it out in one sitting. 

“Keep open a lot of tabs and do it piece by piece and kind of plan it out a little bit because that makes it way more manageable than just sitting down and trying to write 3000 words in one go,” Nober said. 

Nober’s favorite part of the D.C. trip was the Museum of African American History because of the abundance of information available there. 

“I had been there once already but I went there again and there were still so many new things to see and learn. I didn’t think we had nearly enough time there because it was a huge museum and it’s all really interesting,” Nober said. 

Reshma Niraula ‘22 will be joining the rest of her class on the sophomore D.C. trip in early May. 

“I have friends in upper grades who have said so many neat things about this trip, and I’m definitely looking forward to it. My birthday is on May 3 and the trip is on the next day so it will be like a birthday present,” Niraula said. 

Niraula is excited to take pictures in front of the monuments and to see the Capitol building. 

“I have never been to D.C. before so I’m eagerly looking forward to making long-lasting memories,” Niraula said. 

UPDATE 4.1.20: Although decisions have not yet been made on whether the trip is still on, due to the challenges of the Coronavirus, the original plan was for 12 faculty members to accompany the sophomore class to D.C. this year. These faculty members include Sara Teegarden, Andrew Thomas, Jennifer Giroir, Tom Mitchell, Lisa Parker, Lisa Wallace, Chad Peacock, Andreanne Annis, Ivonne Igodan, Colin Douglas ’06, Brian Phelps, and Spencer Smith.