Washington, D.C. Reflections

June 13, 2010

Since last Thursday Nani and I have been in Washington, DC with a group of chaperons and 19 students who earned a free 6 day trip by demonstrating high grades, leadership skills and service to the community. I have been to Washington, DC over 50 times to advocate for the foreign workers, attend hearings or to go to the inauguration, but this trip is special because I am seeing our nation's capital through the eyes of young people, most of whom have never been out of Florida. They are in awe of everything that they've seen from the historical sites to the flickering fire flies.

Nine of the 18 students on the trip were born in foreign countries or U.S. territories including Peru, Columbia, Pakistan, Canada, Eritrea, Haiti, Latvia, Puerto Rico, the CNMI and Virgin Islands. Most of the foreign-born students immigrated to the United States with their parents. Josh was raised in an orphanage in Latvia until at age 13 he was adopted by an American family. He changed his name to an American name so he could fit in. He studied speaking English without an accent and he joined the track team to make friends. He became a star runner and a scholar, graduating from our high school as one of several valedictorians with a 5.3 G.P.A. Other students on this trip also have unusual backgrounds and have contributed much to their schools and communities through volunteer work.

So far we have visited the monuments, White House, Arlington Cemetery, and spent an afternoon exploring the Smithsonian Museums. We took a river cruise and went to a mall and movie. Later this week we are having a private meeting with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, meeting with some Central Florida members of Congress, having brunch at the Officer's Club at Bolling Air Force Base, attending a performance of a dance troupe, and meeting with directors of national service programs. Tomorrow afternoon I will get a chance to go off on my own to meet with some officials.

Some photos by the trip's photographer, Nani:


Anonymous said...

5.3 GPA? Doesn't it only go up to 4 or 4.3?

Wendy said...

AP classes (college courses that are offered in high school where students earn college credit if they pass the year-end AP test) are weighted so that an A (4.0) equals a 6.0. Honors classes are weighted 1 point so an A becomes 5.0.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Did you know that each one of those stars in the third photo represents 100 lives? There is a single star for every 100 soldiers that gave their life during World War II.