DC Trip Brings History to Life

By Kaitlyn Brathwaite’18

The Guilder Lehrman program, managed by some of the History Department’s teachers, tries to mold their students into the leaders of tomorrow through various courses.

“The program is named after two gentlemen who started an institute to promote the study of American history in public schools,” said Mr. Matthew Bonavita, one of the program’s organizers.  “They funded our program since 2000.  Once they stopped donating, we’ve received contributions out of the generosity of others who believe in our children’s development.”  

The Gilder Lehrman program is offered to students once they’re in the 9th grade and continues on until the students graduate, leaving them with new information about more obscure parts of history which are not discussed in regular history classes.  

The program is run by Mr. Bonavita, Mr. Joseph Peters, Mr. Eugene Resnick, and many other teachers, who teach Sports History, Urban History, and other classes under the program’s elective sections.  Once the children are in the 12th grade, they go on an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to discover more about American history, as well as learn more about the world around them.

“We usually spend a night in D.C.,” said Mr. Bonavita.  “We saw most of the national memorials on the first day, and headed to some museums on the second.  This year, we saw the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, and many other things which revolve around American history.”

The trip is not only a way to teach the students about history.  For Mr. Bonavita and the other teachers, it also gives the students great life experiences they can remember as they mature.

“Our kids work hard.  They deserve the experience,” Mr. Bonavita said.  “We don’t ask the children to support the program, or make them sell anything for it because we want them to focus.  They matter more than the money.”

Mayra Vazquez-Sanchez ’17 said, “ It (the trip) was really fun, apart from taking tons of pictures at every monument and museum that we saw, we also learned a lot about our nation’s history.” She continued, “ We visited the Air and Space Museum, the Archives, and the Mueseum of Natural History.”

Thanks to the Guider Lehrman program, incoming students can learn about diverse parts of history, and improve their education.  Most importantly, however, they come out of the program as better people with fuller lives based on their experiences; and that will go down in history.

“The best part of Guilder Lehrman is getting to do our part in society to inform the children, and send them into the world as great people,” Mr Bonavita said.

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