Southwest Christian seniors take class trip to D.C.
Students had four years to raise funds to help pay for the trip.
EDGERTON — Seniors at Southwest Christian High School in Edgerton embarked on a class trip to Washington, D.C., last Tuesday through Saturday. It’s the third consecutive year the school has planned and organized the trip, which has taken the place of the school’s annual banquet (prom).
The idea grew from the education committee and a survey of families on the various events within the school, according to high school teacher and trip organizer Brian Busker.
“We already did a class trip, but we only went as far as Chicago if there were enough funds to do that,” said Busker. “We were also dealing with some issues regarding prom.
“The question became, which was better in line with our mission as a school, and which one would our constituents rather see,” he added. “If we took the amount of money spent on banquet every year … if we put that money toward the class trip, we decided we could do something more robust — something more in line with our mission and something more for education."
After three years of leading the class trip, Busker said the school and parents are pleased with the format.
Last week’s educational trip — comprised of all 22 seniors and six chaperones — included tours of the National Archives, Ford’s Theater, the Smithsonian Zoo, the National Cathedral, Museum of the Bible, Holocaust Museum, Mount Vernon, Capital Hill, the Library of Congress, select Smithsonian museums and an evening bus trip through the city to see many of the memorials. Busker and three of the students also took part in the laying of a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday before their flight back home.
With four years to raise funds for the trip, this year’s senior class was the first to experience an extended day in the nation's capital. In past years, the trip spanned four days. Future classes will also have a five-day excursion.
“There’s so much to see in Washington, D.C., and thankfully a lot of it is actually free,” Busker said. “It’s just a matter of having the time to see it all.”
Participants took a direct flight from Omaha, Neb. and packed as much as they could into the five days. Using the Metro and their feet to get around the city — Busker estimated they walked nearly 10 miles each day — they were able to experience a lot.
“We get to see so many wonderful things that a lot of these kids normally wouldn’t ever go see on their own or ever see again,” he said. “Getting them there and getting to see what our nation’s capital offers in regard to all of the sites and the inner workings of government is pretty good.”
In preparation for the trip, students completed projects in Busker’s government class on some of the monuments and sites they were going to see. The projects generate more interest in the trip, and also provide the students with some general knowledge of symbolism, function and purpose for the sites they tour, he said.
After the trip, some assignments reflect back on the trip, such as essays students may be asked to write in English class.
“It’s a trip and it’s fun and unique and outside of the ordinary,” Busker said. “We see it as missional for how we are and it’s educational, more than anything else.”