Gilder-Lehrman Hornets Visit Washington D.C.

By Oscar Mendoza ’19

The annual Washington D.C. trip took place once again this year from May 21 to May 22. Students who are part of Midwood’s Gilder-Lehrman Scholars program, a Social Studies concentrated program, had the opportunity to visit our nation’s capital.

Students in this program take four social studies class electives, which include: Urban History, Culture of Sports, America in Vietnam, and Historiography. On this trip, the students were able to bring together all of what they learned in their four elective classes and see how it comes to life in Washington D.C.

“Kids take it seriously. They are open to learning and experiencing new things,” said Mr. Eugene Resnick, a U.S History, A.P. U.S. History, Urban History teacher, and chaperone for this trip.

The trip was put together this year by Mr. Matthew Bonavita, a dean at Midwood as well as the teacher for Historiography, one of the electives part of the Gilder-Lehrman Scholars program.

“The students weren’t as excited to go visit the White House this year,” said Mr. Bonavita, and he believed it was because of President Trump.

Students started the trip off by looking at different memorials. A tour guide led them through Memorial Park and allowed them to view memorials like the Lincoln Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Vietnam Memorial.

“My favorite was the memorial for World War II because it was very beautiful. It was dedicated to World War II fighters and was made years after the other memorials were enslated,” said Kaithlyn Brathwaite ’19.

Later on, the group went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Smithsonian National Museum, and Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

One event stood out in particular on the trip, besides the normal touring of the nation’s capital in all its glory, and it was when one student, Leah Lottman, led students when they sang the song “Wade in the Water” in front of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. This song has an extremely special meaning to African-Americans. It was used by Harriet Tubman, the “lead conductor” of the Underground Railroad, to signal to slaves when it was safe to move. The song took a strong, symbolic, and  important role when former slaves thought of freedom and how they escaped the south to get to the north and to freedom.

Although the trip was very fun and informative, it was only able to last two days because there was not enough money to pay for a longer trip. There is two-way bus ride to pay for, food, and hotel, which all costs thousands of dollars.

“There are problems when it comes to funding the trip,” said Mr. Bonavita, “Teachers, former students, friends, family all donate money to help fund the trip, but there is still not enough money, which is why the trip only lasted two days.”

This school year’s juniors are looking forward and excited to visit the nation’s capital.

“I can’t wait to go see the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and all the other monuments,” said Ahmed Ali’ 19.

“The things we learn in the classroom are going to come to life for once.”

The Washington D.C. trip is an annually occurring trip that is sponsored and paid for by people willing to make donations to help educate students. If you or anyone you know would like to help support the Washington D.C. trip, please speak to Mr. Boanvita for more information.

Hajira Ishtiaq ’19 and Eesha Chaudhary ’19 contributed to this article.

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