A group of ten students from Bishop Garcia Diego High School, along with some of their parents and a teacher, attended the Inauguration in Washington, D.C. last week. All students agreed that the Inauguration itself was the highlight of the trip. To be on the Mall looking directly at the Capitol with tens of thousands of other Americans proved to be an experience of profound pride in the peaceful and dignified transition of power from one party to another. With the Women’s March following on Saturday, students got to see firsthand how a demonstration with over a million participants can be conducted without destroying public or private property, without any arrests. Since both political parties were well represented within the Bishop group, students got to see that whether or not their particular ideas were highlighted on either the day of the Inauguration, or the day of the demonstration, that the government is so established as to create a safe venue for all voices to be heard and celebrated. Security was present and organized, yet unobtrusive. Students chatted a bit with National Guardsmen and Secret Service Agents, while observing their strict commitment to their protection. They saw the streets of D.C. city clean and orderly each day after the Inauguration on Friday and the Demonstration March on Saturday.
Over the four days there, the trip included tours of the WWII, MLK, Jr, FDR, Vietnam, Jefferson, and Lincoln Memorials. Students were instructed at each site by the tour director, to bring American history into a more connected reality for them. A visit was also made to the Arlington National Cemetery which included viewing the eternal flame of the JFK gravesite, and the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They saw the room where Abraham Lincoln died after a visit to the Ford Theatre right across the street. The Museum of Tolerance, and a quick tour of the Aeronautical & Space and the Natural History Museums at the Smithsonian, topped off an incredible opportunity for Bishop students and their chaperones. All agreed that the trip enforces a true awareness of the sacrifices made over the centuries to maintain the Democracy we enjoy in the United States. Students returned to Santa Barbara with a firm appreciation and depth of awareness of how the Capitol represents the greatness, beauty, and diversity of our nation.
Participants: Bella Molony, Elee Branff, Claire Velez, Sophia Ciani, Brian Borgatello, Travis Pierce, Kyle Fenole, Jonathan Lindsey, Nick Auchincloss, and Bennet Burnes, students; Fernando Velez, Ray Pierce, Denise Filota, Tom Fenole, Gordon Auchincloss, parents; and Linda Williams, teacher.