Middle School Law and Government Trip to D.C.

Emma L. ’27 and Anya K. ’28, Middle School Reporters

Throughout the semester, Post Oak’s Middle School has been studying law and government. Two weeks ago, they received the opportunity to travel to the nation's capital, Washington D.C.

The Middle School visited a variety of places to discover more about American history, art, and government. It would make sense, then, for one of the first places they visited to be the Library of Congress, a place full of both art and history. 

In a self-guided tour of the Library of Congress, middle schoolers explored the fascinating architecture and art within the LOC. Some students received the opportunity to ask a librarian questions, and others viewed the types of books on display in the Thomas Jefferson Building. It was intriguing to see how much knowledge was stored in such an artistic building. The next place the Middle School toured together was the Capitol Building. 

Middle Schoolers had been learning about the significance and history of the Capitol Building in Humanities, so it was wonderful to finally see it. The first thing that greeted the Middle School at the Capitol Building was the majestic sculptures scattered throughout the building. In the 19th century, each state contributed two statues of significant figures. For example, a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune, a Black educator and advocate for civil and women’s rights, stands in the Capitol Building representing Florida. Statues like hers are meant to bring national honor to people who played a role in American history.

After admiring the historic statues, they entered the Rotunda. Full of art, the Middle School’s gaze was lifted to the ceiling where the stunning painting on the dome of the Capitol was. This painting portrayed George Washington among Greco-Roman gods and thirteen maidens representing the original thirteen states. Many other intriguing art pieces were displayed in the Rotunda that include a painting of the drafting of the Constitution and a sculpture of important pioneers in women’s suffrage. 

The final thing the Middle School saw at the Capitol Building was the Old Senate room, from when there were only 32 states. They’d been learning much about the different branches in American government and about the Senate’s political power. Ambika K. ’27 says, “I liked the architecture [of the Old Senate Room], and I thought it was really cool how [it shows] the evolution of the U.S.” In the end, it was a great opportunity to see the Capitol Building because it gave the Middle School a physical glimpse into the history of the U.S. government. 

“One experience I found particularly interesting was the Smithsonian Museum of African American History," said Anya K. ’28. The museum was very good in their coverage of all aspects of African American history. Not only did the museum highlight slavery and civil rights, but it also cast a light on African American culture, which is African American history. From Stevie Wonder, who supported civil rights through his music, to Muhammad Ali, the museum did not slack off in their efforts to show the prevelance of African American culture in our society. The museum also made the exhibits interactive and fun to learn about. All in all, the African American Museum was an incredible and unforgettable experience. 

While the whole Middle School got to visit those places, advisories traveled together across D.C. during most of the trip. This way, every student receives a unique experience. 

Dimitra S., ’27, from the Williamson Advisory, recalls her time at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, “We visited different exhibits related to how our Earth was formed. It was a really fun, educational visit, and was really cool to see all the different animal skeletons.”

Ayub A. ’27 from the Onofre Advisory enjoyed his experience at the National Portrait Gallery. Because he admires former president Obama, he shared that “I enjoyed the President's portrait gallery where I saw the Obama portrait.” However he also had some criticism for the gallery, “I saw a few problematic depictions of Native Americans and African Americans. For example, they portrayed Pocahontas as a middle-aged European woman and much older than she was at the time.”

Ryan M. ’27 enjoyed his visit to Arlington Cemetery, a place the Abel/Vasquez Advisory toured. He “liked how powerful it was,” and thought “Arlington Cemetery really was a full timeline of American history, especially throughout wars.”

Nora B. ’28, from the McNally Advisory, shared her experience at the Air and Space Museum. She shares, “We learned lots of things about how rockets, race cars, and space work all around us.” Their advisory liked exploring “charts and numbers of animal declines and environmental change, as well as how the government is trying to stop it.”

Anya K. ’28 from the Husain Advisory said, “My advisory definitely had a very productive Washington D.C. experience, and it was the perfect balance of fun and educational. I know that the Library of Congress was very popular, as well as Ford's Theater and the Peterson house. I also know that the giant cookies we ate were very popular.”

From the Pel Advisory, Olivia S. ’27 said, “My advisory went to the Hirshhorn Museum and sculpture garden. It was meaningful to me because I don't personally enjoy modern art, but the museum gave me a different perspective on it, and we were able to roam the museum freely and look at all the wonderful art pieces.” The Ventura advisory visited the Hirshhorn Museum as well. Gael T. ’27 liked the “modern style” adding that there was a lot of “creative artwork using everyday materials.” He specifically enjoyed a video of a garden with special effects that portrayed different views of the same garden. Gael also enjoyed the general trip saying his favorite thing to do was “getting to know my fellow advisees more and learning more about our country's history.” 

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