Close Up Trip Gives ILS Students A Hands-On Experience with Government


The ILS Close Up group outside of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Camilla Diez, Editor

On February 9, a small group of juniors and seniors traveled up to Washington D.C. to participate in the Close Up program. 

Close Up is a one-week program for high school students from across the country to learn more about history and the government from different perspectives and point of views. This program takes place in our Nation’s capitol, Washington D.C., and is designed to empower students to become more involved in our democracy. 

“The Close Up experience is a good opportunity to learn more about our government system and how to be more involved in it. I was able to learn many things and visit many places which are important to the country,” said Isabella Guardazzi, a junior that went on this trip.

This year, a group of 13 students went along with Mr. Suarez and Dr. Gomez, both members of the Social Studies department at ILS. They were there from February 9 to February 14. 

In D.C., they were joined from students across the nation, including: Texas, Minnesota, North Dakota, California, Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia. Every student partnered up with a student from their school, and then had two other roommates from another state.  

This program allowed students to meet new people from across the nation and learn through their idea of having students from different states roommate.

“Being able to room with students from another state allowed me to learn new perspectives and beliefs that my roommates shared. This experience also provided the opportunity to make new friends even though we are different,” said Guardazzi.

ILS Close Up participants met with Senator Rick Scott while they were in Washington, D.C.

Close Up is a great opportunity for students to grow their understanding of the government. Participants met with teachers from across the nation to learn about different societal and governmental issues. The students also participated in debates on some of those issues.

The students also had the opportunity to tour the monuments, like the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Each location included study visits and discussions. Participants also visited the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial and engaged in a Capitol Hill workshop.

The final workshop of the week was entitled “Sustaining Democracy.”

This year students met with Florida senator, and former Florida governor, Rick Scott. They were able to talk to him and ask any questions they might have had. 

This program has been going on since 1971, almost 50 years ago. It offers an incredible experience for students from all backgrounds to better understand the American government. Close Up gathers speakers to come in daily to talk to the students. Everyday there is an event for the students to go to and share their point of view of the government. 

On February 14, students headed back to Miami after a long week of fun and learning in D.C.

This program is highly recommended to anyone interested in learning more about the government and our country.