On the Journey 

news reel: stories of People, places, and learning AT Aspen Country Day School
Aardvarks in Washington, DC: a traveling classroom
Posted 10/15/2018 07:09PM

Eighth Graders recently returned from a week-long trip to Washington, DC, where they not only had an insider's look at the inner workings of the federal government, they also deepened their understanding of two essential aspects of the Aspen Country Day mission: critical thinking and responsible citizenship.

Each year's itinerary for the DC trip is different, because ACDS -- unlike many other schools -- doesn't use a tour company or a "canned" service to arrange this expedition. This year's trip was organized and chaperoned by Middle School Head Brenda Stockdale, Middle School history teacher Michael Corbelle, Middle School English teacher Ginger Lewis, and Director of Communications Carolyn Hines. It was an amazing time to be in the nation's capital, with the Senate holding hearings on a controversial Supreme Court nomination. Even more amazing was the weather: 90 degrees and sunny most days. 

Since its original creation in 2005 by former ACDS history teacher Zeke Tiernan, the Eighth Grade DC trip has been an experience driven by student learning. This year brought a special focus on the First Amendment, as students had exciting opportunities to visit with real working journalists in the nation's capital and think hard about the role of a free press in our democracy. 

Here's a quick day-by-day on the DC itinerary.

  • Day 1: flight from Aspen, metro to downtown hotel, night walk to the White House and the Washington Monument
  • Day 2: monuments by bike: including Jefferson, FDR, MLK, Lincoln, Vietnam, and World War II memorial -- not on foot or by tour bus, but on bicycles -- definitely the way to go. At each monument students gave speeches they had researched in class before leaving home
  • Day 3: morning at Politico: tour of the newsroom and conversation with founder and editor-in-chief John Harris, journalist Daniel Lippman, and videographer Mary Newman; afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery, where students spoke with veterans and gave more of their own speeches; evening tour of Sidwell Friends School and book talk with author Chelsea Clinton
  • Day 4: big museum day: Holocaust Museum and National Museum of the American Indian; dinner in Georgetown University with ACDS alumna Carter Cheo, a freshman; treats at Georgetown Cupcake. 
  • Day 5: Capitol Hill: an inspiring and thoughtful Q&A with Senator Michael Bennet in the Russell Senate Office Building; walk on the Capitol grounds; three-museum afternoon (National Gallery of Art; Air & Space; American History); movie night - Science Fair, a new National Geographic documentary
  • Day 6: morning at the Newseum, a museum of the news, rated the best museum by an informal poll of students who loved its interactive TV studio where you can practice being an on-camera reporter; Metro to the airport and flight home

For photos, check out the trip album on SmugMug: https://aspencountryday.smugmug.com/Aardvarks-in-Washington-DC-2018

For an archive of last year's 
On the Journey, click here;
For the year before, 
click here.

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