8th Graders Lean In and Stand In During Annual D.C. Trip

posted Jul 11, 2017, 1:53 PM by L Williams

By 8th Grade Team Leader David Fuder

Each year the 8th grade descends on Washington D.C. with a packed three-day itinerary of things to see and do, from museums to monuments to baseball games. This culmination to a year of study and growth is one of the highlights of 8th grade.

This year, some new activities during the trip included an inaugural visit to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, a sit-down meeting with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan after a private courtroom lecture and a tour of Senator Tammy Duckworth’s office followed by a meeting with her staff, including Parker alum Aline Sredni ’13, in the Senate Hearing Room. While these were engaging and incredible opportunities for learning, it was a student-driven activity that may be the most lasting takeaway from the trip.

After a moving visit from Congressman John Lewis in early May, students were motivated to do some speaking up of their own, so after organizing ideas and creating signs prior to the trip, the grade converged on the White House for a peaceful stand-in, singing “Change Is Gonna Come” and expressing their concerns through call-and-response chants. It didn’t take long to draw a crowd, including news cameras, journalists and other supporters who joined in. This powerful experience was a strong reminder of what membership in democracy looks like and that not having a vote doesn’t mean not having a voice. Oh, and they made the local ABC News and Huffington Post while they were at it.