Abby Alonzo, Staff Member

A week’s worth of monuments, debates, and historical experiences is what Close-Up is defined as on paper, but it is so much more than just that.

Close-Up teaches young people not only about the history of our country but also allows them to form their own political stance. By sitting in on debates, attending seminars, meeting with Senators and Congressmen, and participating in a mock Congress, students on the trip are introduced to the many different opinions and ideas that this country has allowed its people to obtain.

It’s truly amazing to be grouped together with kids from all over the country. It’s mind-blowing to hear some of these students speak about something they are so passionate about. The speeches given are thought-provoking and lead people to see things that they did not necessarily see before. “Respecting people’s opinions no matter their relevance to mine” is something Allison Zoglio learned to appreciate on the trip. “No one person is the exact same as the other” and that’s what makes this country prosper.

Julianna Bubrig took away an even greater message: “I matter in this world. Politics aren’t only for the older generation; we play a part in them, too.”

Close-Up is an experience that allows for young people to learn about things that are not technically taught in school. We learned the way that today’s government functions – what works and what doesn’t work. It’s such an in depth encounter; students not only learn about the government and country in which we live but about ourselves and what we individually believe.

This specific Close-Up trip happened to intertwine with the 2017 Inauguration of President Donald Trump. To be able to attend this event and an Inaugural Ball was incredible. Students on this trip were able to actually take part in an event that will be written about in history textbooks. To actually be present and witness the speeches and protests is an unforgettable experience.

But the greatest thing about the trip is the life-long friends that are made. Ranging from Texas to California to Colorado, the students are diverse and friendly. A person learns the deepest thoughts and passions about people they barely know, which leads to a deeper friendship. Everyone is accepting and understanding and so fun!

Bubrig summarizes the trip as “Amazing. In just one short week, I have experienced more history than many people will get to experience in their lifetimes. The countless miles of walking, the minimal hours of sleep, and the food that could not compare to that of New Orleans allowed were absolutely worth it. Altogether, Close-Up has empowered me to stand up for what I believe in.”