Fifteen sixth-graders at St. Paul Lutheran School, Waverly, Iowa, headed off to Washington, D.C., on March 15. It didn’t turn out quite as planned, but the disappointment of a canceled visit to the most famous house in the country taught the students how government works — and sometimes doesn’t.
School staff and parents spent two years planning the adventure. Conceived of as a key element in a “capstone project” for students soon to graduate, the trip was intended to teach them about government, citizenship, vocation and to help them grow as people of faith.
Along with their teacher, Lynn Brown, and school principal Christi Lines, they visited the U.S. Capitol building, the front steps of the Supreme Court building, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoo, Arlington National Cemetery and George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Va.
Conspicuously absent from the itinerary was the White House. Landing a tour is always chancy because timing is everything (allow too little time to secure gate passes and you can’t get in). The sixth-graders did everything right and received necessary credentials at the last minute.
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