In her famous autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Zora Neale Hurston wrote that her “Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at the sun.'” One major point of learning in a WHSAD student’s education is knowing that they will be granted opportunities to “jump at the sun” if they seek out such chances. An array of internships, after-school activities and partnerships, learning journeys, and other avenues for possibility await those who will take advantage, thus enhancing their knowledge of the world beyond high school. Such an opportunity presented itself to a trio of WHSAD students when they traveled to Washington D.C. over the February recess. Senior Adria Lee and Juniors Trevon West and Juan Valencia accompanied Heather Butts and Anthony Antonucci from H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths on a day trip to tour the White House, the National Portrait Gallery, and congressional and senatorial offices. Below, Heather Butts of H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths provides a synopsis of what the day entailed.
Fantastic. Awesome. Phenomenal. Definitely words to describe our trip to Washington, D.C. yesterday 2/16. Our day started with our amazing students, Juan, Trevon, Adria (from the Williamsburg HS for Architecture and Design in Brooklyn) and Anthony at 4:45am at Penn Station, NYC.
We got on the 5:30am train and got into DC by 8:47am. We took the Metro to the White House Historical Association. There, we linked up with the amazing Dr. Matthew Costello, the Senior Historian at the WHHA and his colleagues. The WHHA was founded in 1961 by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to “protect, preserve, and provide public access to the rich history of America’s Executive Mansion.” It’s located within walking distance of the White House.
After the WHHA tour with Dr. Costello, he took us on a private tour of the White House. Incredible. Thank you as well to the Secret Service for all their assistance. From there we raced over to the Capitol Building and were guests of Congressman Adriano Espaillat’s office on a private tour of the Capitol with the wonderful Jasmine of his office. We then had a fun ride on the Senate subway system and stopped by Senator Cory Booker’s Office where student Trevon solved the Office rubik’s cube and became an instant sensation among the staff!
Our last stop was the National Portrait Gallery where we saw many amazing pieces including the new portraits of President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. They’re a sight to behold in person.
Then it was off to get food and back to NYC.
This was definitely the trip of a lifetime! Huge thank you to: Dr. Matthew Costello and the White House Historical Association, the Secret Service, the staff of the White House, the staff of Congresswoman Maloney, Espaillat, Senator Booker, Senator Schumer, the staff of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Williamsburg HS for Architecture and Design, Amtrak staff and of course, last but certainly not least our incredible students!!!! Thank you everyone!
Heather Butts, H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths.