Weaver Students get ‘Close Up’ With Nation’s Capital
By Hartford Guardian
Five Weaver High School students gained greater understanding about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in “participatory democracy.” They were among hundreds of students participating in Close Up Washington, a seven-day experience in the nation’s capital late spring. Renee Thompson, a Weaver High School senior, was selected for the trip after writing an essay on what the trip would likely offer her. She said she has a better understanding of issues in Connecticut and across the nation. Moreover, she was inspired to serve her community.
“I came back wanting to do something for my community and the problems it’s facing,” she said. That’s not all students learn. They learn how to develop communication skills and civic participation. Shanado Williams, a junior at Weaver, said he’s now thinking about helping out in his community. He said gaining new communication skills has allowed him to have more confidence in communicating well with all different types of people.
Michael Cronin, 37, a social studies teacher at Weaver, says the purpose of the trip was to expose Weaver students to the nation’s capital He selected students, he says, based on their social interactions with peers and their desire to achieve their goals.
“These kids really shined while in D.C., creating an image of Weaver that is too often overlooked at home,” Cronin says. “Weaver is a school that is loaded with talented young professionals who are going to make great contributions to our society. Weaver students didn’t get a chance to meet Senator Christopher Dodd, so the students met with his assistant. The students also visited the site of the Vietnam Veteran Wall, where [there are] different statues of soldiers from different wars, and the Memorial Wall of the soldiers’ names from the War. At the Washington Memorial site was a statue of George Washington and inscriptions on the wall about freedom and justice for all people. At Freedom Park, there were many different statues at the Park like Martin Luther King’s Jail cell, a glass wall of the names of the different journalists who were killed in the act of duty. The Hilton Hotel, where Ronald Regan was shot. The Holocaust Museum had different models of the Jewish immigrants walking to the crematory, bowls, boulders, and video images of the concentration camps.
Weaver students talked to Representative John Larson about which college they are going to attend, their college goals, their views on the war in Iraq,the No Child Left Behind Act, the college tuition that in-coming freshmen would need to pay, the outcome about the immigrant bill, Keisha Long Solider, a senior at Crazy Horse High School in South Dakota, said she , learned how government works and how to be a really good debater.”
Michael Pisani, a senior at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles California, says, “The main thing I gained from the workshops was communication skills, because we were kind of forced to interact with people we didn’t know as it progressed.”