Magnet seniors climb Capitol Hill and take on D.C. for the annual Senior Capstone trip

Joshua Dawson


Turner Markwalter

The Capitol Building stands tall on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The students who attended the trip received a tour about the building’s detailed history.

Turner Markwalter, Reporter, Photographer

The seniors involved in the NC International Studies Magnet School departed for  their annual Washington, D.C. capstone trip on Wednesday, November 15 and returned home on Saturday, November 18. All Magnet seniors on the trip took a comparative government class, so the experience traveling to D.C. helped them understand the process of lawmaking and government fluidity.

Instead of a 14-hour bus ride, the students and chaperones took a two-hour plane trip and landed at the Ronald Reagan International Airport around 10 a.m.

“The plane ride was wonderful. I’m very happy that we went with this rather than what would’ve been an uncomfortable 14-hour bus ride,” senior Rylie Geraci said.

After landing in D.C., the 42 seniors dropped off their bags at the Hyatt House on the Wharf hotel, then headed to the U.S. Capitol Building for a tour on the building’s history and a chance to see Congress in session. When the group made their way to the House of Representatives Gallery, they saw some of the most important representatives, like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Georgia’s District 11 Representative Barry Loudermilk, in the country debate over the now-passed tax reform bill.  

“Seeing the representatives in person was eye-opening to me because it looked like they weren’t even doing anything,” senior Jayden Bourne said.

The second day of the trip began with an 8:30 a.m. tour at the White House, where the students and chaperones explored the East Wing. Secret Service guards told the background and history of each room that the students visited. After the White House tour, the group headed to George Washington University (GWU) for an overview of the campus in downtown D.C. An informational session about the admissions process for the college started around 3 o’clock, allowing some of the Magnet students who applied to GWU the opportunity to ask questions about the current freshmen profile and Early Action application decisions.

The third day in the nation’s capital began with a Supreme Court tour of the first floor and another informational session, which included facts about the courtroom’s history. When the long session concluded, everyone ventured towards the National Holocaust Museum, where the students and chaperones learned extensive information about the international tragedy.

After the Holocaust Museum tour, students chose to go to a Smithsonian Museum of their choice: the Air and Space Museum, the American Indian Museum, the National Botanical Garden, or the African American History Museum.

Wrapping up the third day, everyone put on their suits and skirts and traveled over to the National Theater to see a broadway musical version of Mean Girls.

“The writers did a great job of connecting this version to the old story and making it funny,” senior Shiv Pandya said.

On the very last day, the group headed to the new Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, which encompassed different exhibits about the First Amendment.

“They had a bunch of interactive exhibits for you to really understand what they’re trying to tell us, like how our First Amendment rights are crucial to our country’s success,” senior Malik Balogun said.

Once the Newseum visit finished, students, teachers, and chaperones headed to the Ronald Reagan International Airport to catch their 6 p.m. flight home.