Alamo students visit D.C.

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Twelve Alamo Navajo Community Senior Students went to Washington D.C. from April 5 – 11 to learn about how the federal government works.
Their program was quite packed with activity. In the morning they visited museums such as the Library of Congress, the National Aeronautics and Space Museum, the National Museum for Native Americans, the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the White House, Arlington National Cemetery and the Capitol building. In the afternoon they went to sessions that were about how the three branches of government work.
The visit highlight was on Wednesday. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and the House Representative from our District Steven Pierce met the students.
Senators Udall and Heinrich and house representative, Pierce, showed the students their offices and introduced them to their staff. The students asked the congressmen about issues such as the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage.
After the visit with the state representative, the students went to the Senate Gallery during a real session to see how the senators got work done.
Later, the Alamo senior school students participated in a mock congress and pretended to be house representatives and senators and talked about certain issues.
Michael Cunanan, a staff member at the Alamo Navajo Community School, accompanied the students on the trip.
“I believed the seniors had a lot of fun. I think this was a wonderful experience for them,” Cunanan said. “They learned a lot. I’m proud of the students and the way they interacted with students all over the nation on different issues.”
According to Cunanan, the program involved not only students from the U.S., but also international students from countries like from Mexico. Senior students Apachito and Thompson added that two Alamo students had to share accommodation with students from other states.
Apachito found the students from North Dakota and South Carolina the most interesting students.
He found the students from North Dakota to be friendly and very talkative, and the southern accents of the South Carolina students charming.
The senior students raised the money to pay for the program themselves by organizing concession stands at school football, basketball, volleyball and track and field games and events. The Close Up Washington High School Program Sponsored is by the Close Up Foundation.
The high school program has been offered since 1971 and the purpose of the program is to give students a hands-on civic education that promotes citizen participation in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Editor’s Note: This article was a collaboration between Alamo Navajo Community School journalism students and El Defensor Chieftain.