PLYMOUTH - Terryville High School students will have a chance to visit Washington, D.C. and see government in action right after the midterm elections take place this fall.
The Board of Education approved the next trip for Nov. 11-17, after social studies teacher Robert Nave made the case. The next trip will be led by his fellow social studies teacher Jeffrey Fould.
“We were thinking of doing the trip every other year, but the response [to the first trip] was so strong last year that we are going to try to every year if we can,” Nave said.
Last November, Peter Veleas, also a social studies teacher, led six THS students on an educational tour of the nation’s capital. They joined up with students and teachers from 10 different states there.
Veleas and two of the students gave a presentation to the board after the trip, describing how they got to tour landmark sites, meet with congressional staff, see Capitol Hill behind the scenes, and learn how to debate controversial issues respectfully.
“They learned the legislative process from within,” Nave said. “It’s an amazingly strong program, because they meet legislators and they come back very well trained.”
“For example, in social studies classes we try to bring in current events,” he said. “When the secretary of state was removed from office, we were reviewing the line of succession from the presidency and how the secretary of state is fourth in line. Alyssa Ryder, one of the kids who went down there, was ready to lead the charge and teach the class. She knows her civics.”
Nave said November is the best time for the trip, because it’s cheaper than the spring program and it comes right after election day.
“This year it’s midterm elections, so whatever the results it’s going to be dynamic down in D.C. The kids are going to get there four days after the new Congress is elected. It’s going to be very exciting, the timing is unbelievable, so we’re very happy we’re able to lock in this time, and we’d like to keep it from year to year,” he said.
Nave said the approval was needed months in advance to give interested students time to commit and fundraise for the trip.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.