8th Grade DC Trip 2019

Students in the eighth grade Class of 2023 visited Washington, D.C. March 14 to March 17. The trip to the nation’s capital was the culmination of students’ study of Civics. The journey provided students with opportunities to explore the seat of American democracy and visit a number of historic and heritage sites. Several students shared their reflection on their trip and takeaways from their tour.


A Capital Time at the Capital Wheel and National Harbor

During our time in D.C., we were fortunate enough to go to the National Harbor. The National Harbor is a fun destination in Maryland where we could go eat, shop, and even ride the Capital Wheel! When we rode the Capital Wheel, we soared up to 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront! It’s a beautiful sight to see. We also looked out at the River and saw The Awakening statue. This is a statue of a man who is half covered in sand and it is a really cool statue made by John Seward Johnson II.

-Written by Ayla Urquizo

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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Mass at Saint Matthew’s Cathedral

Saint Matthew’s Cathedral was a beautiful church. It was lovely to see the extravagant colors, unique statues, and high ceilings during the Mass we attended. Although the Cathedral is just a bit over 100 years old, it was fascinating to see parts of Byzantine-type architecture included in the building alongside modern designs as well. The Mass was full of praise and worship, from the cantor’s songs, to the harmonizing prayers that were shared. I felt that the surroundings of the Church helped us to become more spiritually aware at Mass. Two of our classmates were invited to bring the gifts to the altar, and the celebrant invited all of us to explore the Church after Mass. Mass at Saint Matthew’s Cathedral was one of my favorite places during our D.C. trip.

-Written by Maddy Barry

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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A Monumental Afternoon, Part 2

In Washington D.C. for our class trip, we visited many monuments, memorials and, museums. Three very important sites we visited were the FDR Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the World War II monument. We had talked about all of these places in our Civics classes, so it was very nice to know what we were looking at.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial was definitely an amazing sight to see at the site there was a sculpture with Franklin sitting down with his dog. Behind the dog was a quote that said ”they  (who) seek to establish Systems of government based on the regimentation all human beings by handful of individual rulers… Call this a new order. It is not new and it is not an order”. I thought this was a very meaningful quote, which meant almost when you elect a leader  it’s not “the king says,” it’s what the people say and the community.

The Jefferson Memorial was definitely my favorite, because how nice it was. This memorial is a dome with a statue of Thomas Jefferson in the center. Behind Jefferson and there was a quote on the wall the quote  shows the “applicability of laws to people and how they should progress with the times.” I think many people really enjoyed this memorial and got a better understanding from the quote.

The World War II Memorial is a memorial with 56 pillars with wreaths on them. Each of these pillars have a state or territory representing soldiers that fought in the World War Two. On either end of this memorial there are two pillars that are larger than the rest. One says Atlantic and one says Pacific. I thought this was a very meaningful memorial and was a beautiful sight to see.

-Written by Keira Loporchio

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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Museum of American History

When we went on a class trip in Washington D.C. we visited the National Museum of American History. There is lots to do at the National Museum of American History as well as lots of interesting exhibits. They have many exhibits to choose from and that can all fit your interests such as exhibits about superheros, the American Revolution, American enterprises, and many more. The superhero exhibit is a whole collection of superhero artifacts starting from original comic books and comic art to things they used in superhero movies and and shows from back then to now. The American Revolution exhibit features artifacts from around the 1780’s. It talks about one of the most famous battles and victories, the Battle of Yorktown. This exhibit has lots of things such as paintings about the battle and some of the things used in the battle. The American enterprises exhibit talks about the evolution of business in America and the people’s wealth who owned the business. It also talks about how work and labor has evolved and how this have been better and the machines that are now used to do certain jobs instead of people. At the National Museum of History there is clearly lots do do. The exhibits that I mentioned are just a couple of many, there are over fifty exhibits that you can visit within the museum. One of my favorite places I visited in the museum was where they had THE flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem! The National Museum of American History was one of my favorite places that I visited with all the interesting exhibits.

-Written by Sebastian Guerra

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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Museum of Natural History

In Washington DC, we visited many memorials and monuments and museums, and by far the most educational and interesting one to me was the Museum of Natural History. Right as we walked in, we saw America’s geological and archaeology history on display, such as gemstones, dinosaur remains and skeletons. The huge lobby with the towering dome above gave me a sense of just how big and fulfilling the museum is.

My favorite part of the museum was looking at the Hope Diamond. In its display is a rotating glass rectangle with security guards walking the halls. I could tell from the diamond’s appearance and its separation in the museum that the diamond is a treasured piece of history. The diamond weighs 45.52 carats, and is blue in the center, which is highly unusual among jewels.

-Written by Megan Wilcox

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, more commonly known as the White House, was just one of many sites that we got to visit while Washington D.C. When we arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, one thing I thought was interesting is a group of guys playing street hockey out in front of the White House. This was a cool experience for my first time ever in D.C. and seeing the White House. We got to take many pictures in front of it with our advisors and classmates. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a extremely beautiful and important place to see in Washington, D.C.

-Written by Jack Farrell

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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The Holocaust Memorial and Museum

The Holocaust Memorial and Museum was very different from all the other sites we visited both in the way it looked and the way it felt. Inside the museum, it was dim and quiet, quite the solemn place to reflect a horrific event. The design of the building was something that became noticeable to me personally, starting in a light area, going into the museum, where it was dark and quiet, and exiting into the light again. A reflection on the history, of sorts: a long museum that reflected the long time in the darkness of the Holocaust. The museum showed the countless stories and happenings from this event, beginning with the shunning of the Jews, following to their persecution, to the darkest times, and the most painful. It spared no detail, no account: all evidence, all remains, all remembrances that could be found were in that museum;  and good thing they were, or else it’s quite possible the objects, and the memories they hold, would be lost in the past. The museum itself was like a time capsule: one that held the darkness and horrors of human life as well as some of the light and hope in the places one would least expect it. I hope to revisit it in the future.

-Written by Nora Lafferty

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is a place where people come to pay their respects to those who have  represented our country in battle; a place where absolute silence is a given; a place that provides something unique - that every individual must experience.

When one visits Arlington National Cemetery, there is one thing to look out for in particular - the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Based on my own experience, I was moved the most by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - a grave that represents all of those who were lost at war and were never identified. The tomb is protected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by expertly trained guards. These guards perform the "21 gun salute", a sacred military ritual. The utmost respect and silence is required at this time. The "changing of the guard" as well as the "presentation of a wreath" occur hourly at the tomb.

One of the most astonishing things, however, about Arlington National Cemetery were the number of graves themselves - it spooked me that so many important people could be buried in one place.

That was Arlington National Cemetery - a place that provided an important experience, one that I will never forget.

-Written by Mac Doucette

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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A Monumental Afternoon

While on 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C., our class had the privilege to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. I had not previously understood how amazing these memorials were until I actually visited them in person. This was a great experience to witness the many brave men and women who have died while protecting and shaping the great country we live in today.

All the memorials were amazing to see; however, one stood out for me.  While visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, I was able to locate my great uncle PFC James R. Pizzano’s name engraved on the granite wall.  He had given his life fighting for our country. Even more special was while I was taking a picture of his name, Mr. McLaughlin took a photo of me.  Mr. McLaughlin shared the photo with my family. Later it was placed on the Austin Prep social media accounts. My grandfather, who was PFC Pizzano’s brother got to see this special moment and I know how much he appreciated it.

I have to say this was easily the highlight of my three years at Austin Prep.  It was a very humbling and yet inspiring experience and one me, my classmates, and now my family will never forget.

-Written by Nathaniel Glionna

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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Air and Space Museum

On our very first day in Washington D.C., we went to the Air and Space Museum. At first it was very overwhelming because it is enormous, but as we explored it, bit by bit, we really started focusing on what was in front of us and taking in that information.

In this museum, we saw huge models of planes and rockets floating from the ceiling, model pods so we could experience what it would be like if we were in space, and exhibits about the astronomers and scientists that started gathering and understanding space to what we know of it today.

There are so many things that we still don’t know about space but, in the years to come we will find out more. We can count on the Air and Space Museum to keep us up to date on what we know while still remembering the past and all of the people in it too.

This museum is really close to me because one of my relatives is in it. Her name was Harriet Quimby, and she was a pilot. In fact, she was the first American woman to earn a pilot’s license, license #37. She was also the first woman to fly solo over the English Channel. Lastly, she was enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004. She is located in the Early Aviators exhibit wearing her iconic purple suit.

This was such a great learning experience and it is so fun. So the next time you are in Washington D.C. make sure to go to the Air and Space Museum.

-Written by Caity McCraw

Posted by marissa mclaughlin on Monday April 1
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Phone: (781) 944 - 4900  •  Fax: (781) 944 - 7530

Austin Preparatory School is a Catholic private school in Reading, MA for Middle School and High School students in grades 6-12. We seek to cultivate the hearts and minds of our young students and provide an environment in which our students can successfully learn, grow, and develop beyond the classroom.

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