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Close Up inspires young people to become involved citizens in a democracy

Over a dozen students from Lennox High School traveled to Washington D.C. the last week in March as part of Close Up.

Close Up is a program that informs, inspires, and empowers young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. The students’ advisor for Close Up is Social Studies teacher Madeline Kroger. She said that the students were able to see all of the major monuments and museums in the area. They also heard from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and met staffers to Kristi Noem and Mike Rounds. Other highlights included seeing the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution of the U.S.

Students attending the trip included Emma Roths, Mia Cramer, Elizabeth Steever, Rachel Jensen, Jessica Schneiderman, Joseph Meyer, Joshua VanHouten, Delaney Wrage, Blayne Wallenstein, Hailey Peterson, Rachel VanNingen, Seth VanGelder, Addison Stubbe, Caitlyn George, Robert Boysen, and Nathan Waltjer.

Juniors Robert Boysen, Delaney Wrage and Seth VanGelder shared some details of the trip.

VanGelder said, they were on recess when the students were visiting so that cut down on the opportunities to meet the local politicians.

Boysen said the highlight of the trip was visiting the many monuments in the area, he was surprised by how far apart they were.

Wrage said that one of her favorite experiences was their trip to the Ford Theatre, where they were able to see the musical The Wiz.

Ford Theatre is the site of President Lincoln’s assassination, and she said it was very interesting to see.

Along with sight-seeing and learning about the historical significance of the many monuments, they spent time with students from across the nation.

VanGelder said they would hold debates and he found it interesting to see how other people his age viewed politics. Wrage said everyone was very civil even if they disagreed.

VanGelder added he was even considering politics in his future more than before the trip.

Boysen added, “The experience was filled with new opportunities that I got to see. The Lincoln Memorial was my favorite — there’s a lot of history to it.”

The students logged many miles in the five days they were there — someone tracking 47 miles on their phone.

Every step was worth it to them, VanGelder said, “You were tired at the end of the day but it was a good opportunity.”

The Close Up trip is offered at LHS every two years.

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