Fremont Tribune: Students Meet Congressman
Earlier this month, a group of Logan View High School students got a chance to take in the history of Washington, D.C. and see government in action.
The group of 29 juniors took part in the trip from March 12 through the 17 and were able to visit the White House, Smithsonian Museum and several national monuments.
They also got a chance to meet with Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer, as well as Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.
“The Wednesday of the week is always Capital Hill Day so we got to spend a small amount of time with Senator Sasse and Senator Fischer, and we also got to spend a good half hour with Congressman Fortenberry,” Logan View Principal Rochelle Clausen said.
The students met with Congressman Fortenberry and discussed current political issues and the atmosphere surrounding Washington since the presidential election in November.
“Its always great to see young people come to the nation’s capitol, for those of us in the public office it is very important that we participate in the formation of the next generation so that they understand the gift of America and the responsibility that will shortly be theirs for stewarding our country,” Fortenberry said.
Logan View High offers the trip to juniors each year through the Close Up Foundation. Since 1971, Close Up has partnered with educators from around the country to inform students through interactive civic education programs in Washington, D.C.
The goal of the Close Up trip is for students to learn about democracy and government outside of the classroom setting, specifically through experiences that are unique to D.C., such as visiting Capitol Hill.
“Along with getting to see all the sites and sounds, a lot of their time is spent learning about the government. They do a lot of debate and discussion and they talk about political agendas and it really got our kids enthusiastic about the process, so they learned a lot and had a lot of fun,” Clausen said.
For Fortenberry, when he was a young man, a similar to trip to Washington D.C. piqued his interest in public service.
“I stood on the steps of the Capitol when I was young during a trip to D.C. with my congressman at the time, and it was probably my first inclination that public service was something that i might possibly be interested in. So I just think it is a wonderful opportunity for young people to come here,” he said.
During the week, the students from Logan View were split up into eight groups with around 200 students from schools around the country. On the last night of the trip all the students gathered for a banquet and dance.
During the banquet, each student group nominated a speaker from their group to talk about their week in Washington, D.C.
Two Logan View students were chosen by their fellow group members to speak at the banquet — Joel Moeller and Jaycen Timm.
“Two out of the eight speakers were from Logan View, so it was really cool to know that we had kids step up and show some leadership out there,” Clausen said.
During the week Clausen and the two teacher sponsors, Bo Krivohlavek and Nick Hegge, also got the opportunity to visit different historical monuments with other teachers from around the country.
They took a bus trip to Richmond, Virginia to visit the White House of the Confederacy as well as Manassas National Battlefield Park to visit the place where the Battle of Bull Run took place during the Civil War.
“We went to the National Air and Space Museum and the Enola Gay was there — the Concorde and Discovery. The place was just huge and it was great to see all those amazing air crafts,” Clausen said.
According to Clausen, as the group boarded their plane to fly back to Nebraska a familiar face was on board.
“When we were boarding the plane it turned out that Congressman Fortenberry was on the same flight back home with us. He immediately recognized us and came and said hello, it was great,” she said.
“I really do think they had a great week of learning about our political system and we were very fortunate to get to meet Congressman Fortenberry and really appreciative of the time he took to meet with the students.”
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