Rising sophomores and juniors from Uplift Infinity took in the sights of the nation’s capitol and the city that never sleeps.
Fourteen scholars from Uplift Infinity took part in Education First Tours (EFT) which focuses on bringing the classroom lessons to life through educational tours. Rising sophomores and juniors began their five-day adventure flying out of Love Field on Virgin Airlines. For some scholars, it was the first time they had been on a plane.
Cynara Perdomo, a junior, was nervous about the flight but the teen did not want to miss out. Perdomo found a part-time job to help cover the cost for the trip.
“New York has always been on my bucket list. I didn’t want to come back [home],” said Perdomo.
The idea for scholars to visit D.C. and New York came during a parent meeting. After a minimum of six scholars expressed interest, scholars and their chaperones began fundraising. The group began to hold dress down days to raise funds for the trip, and by the end of the fall semester things began to take off. Uplift Infinity parents and staff members, Jessica Rodriguez and Christina Limon were trained by EFT to prepare for the trip.
Scholars embark on Washington, D.C.
On June 7 the group of 14 arrived in D.C. and wasted no time to take in all the sites. The group was just one of four schools with EFT. Students from Oklahoma, Laredo and Iowa also joined them. The group met their EFT tour guided at the airport and headed to visit numerous historical sites.
Scholars began their trip sightseeing the FDR Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the WWII Memorial, the Washington Monument and had a photo opportunity at the White House.
Due to a foreign dignitary visiting, scholars were unable to tour the White House. Scholars visited the Smithsonian museum and at night visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
During the trip scholars had a strict schedule to be ready for the day by 8 a.m. and return to the hotel by 11 p.m. Although some scholars would have enjoyed sleeping in a bit they did not want to miss out on exploring the city.
“We were constantly learning. Everyday it was something new,” said Alan Vo, 15.
On scholars’ second day in D.C. they visited the United States Capitol Building, Library of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. At night scholars enjoyed going on a Legends of Alexandria Ghost Tour.
After each visit the group would get together and discuss what they saw.
“I liked the adventure and sitting together learning about the sites we visited,” said Jisselle Rodriguez, 14.
All of the city walking left scholars tired, but they were excited for the second part of their journey in New York.
New York, New York
After spending two and a half days in D.C., the scholars headed to New York. For a majority it would be their first time in the Big Apple.
Scholars rode the bus from D.C. to New York and arrived late in the afternoon. As scholars began to see the New York skyline from the bus many grabbed their cameras to take photos as they crossed the bridge into the city.
“I thought it was going to be like the movies, but New York is not anything like the movies,” said Kyle Francis, 15.
“I really enjoyed seeing a whole new different atmosphere,” said Kayli Garza, 15.
On the second day in New York scholars visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. But what impacted most was the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Francis was barely a few months old when 9/11 occurred but seeing items of people who worked in the World Trade Center and hearing farewell voicemails brought 9/11 to life. Francis recalls the tissue boxes placed near each bench outside of what once was the World Trade Center.
“I had to use several of them. It was sad” said Francis.
After their tour, scholars talked about what they saw and how they felt.
Xavier Torres, 16, found it important to reflect on the events that have taken place in our country.
“It is good to know what has happened to get to where we are today,” said Torres.
After the museum the scholars were able to take in some more sights and take the New York City subway to Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen. Scholars ended their five-day visit on Broadway watching Finding Neverland. After the play, scholars were given a last chance to take in the city. The group had 20 minutes to take in Times Square.
“I thought it was mid-day when we got out of the theater because of the lights,” said Xavier Torres, 16.
The trip not only gave scholars a better perspective of historical events and monuments but of their environment.
Scholars appreciated that their chaperones allowed them time to see the city and gain some independence.
“It was a different environment. I hadn’t been outside of this area (metroplex),” said Torres. “It is good to know other things beside where you are from.”
The group hopes to plan a trip next year to Europe or back to New York with more time.