Dublin Villager

Shutdown ends in time to keep D.C. trip enjoyable


The government shutdown ended just in time to keep any major disappointments from Dublin middle school students visiting Washington, D.C., last week.

Students from Grizzell and Sells Middle schools were in Washington last week after deciding not to let the two-week government shutdown ruin the annual trip.

"We tried to create an alternate itinerary to prepare," said Grizzell Principal Dustin Miller.

"With the debt ceiling expiring Thursday, the 17th, the odds were they were going to work something out, so we knew we had all day Thursday."

As the government shutdown ended, museums the group couldn't visit earlier opened.

"We were able to do everything on the initial itinerary with the exception of the Holocaust Museum and some monuments," Miller said.

"We were keeping our fingers crossed. Really the entire trip went on without a hitch."

Many monuments initially closed opened up as the shutdown went on, allowing students to visit. The end of the shutdown also gave the groups enough time to visit areas previously closed.

As students took a class picture Thursday morning, a tour guide scouted the Holocaust Museum and found it open and without lines.

"We loaded up the buses and got right in," Miller said.

"It would have been a significant disappointment if that had been closed. (The students) read 'Night' and talked about Concentration Camps in social studies. It's such a powerful experience for kids to see."

Even though the Capitol building was closed, Rep. Pat Tiberi arranged a tour for Grizzell students and Sells students managed a tour through Rep. Steve Stivers, Miller said.

The eighth-graders saw some protests from the bus during the trip and got one close up view at free speech.

"When we were on the Capitol steps and Rep. Tiberi was talking to all 250 eighth-graders there was a gentleman with a sign that said something about opening the government," Miller said, noting the man was very peaceful.

"It was a great way to see civil discourse ... . We talked to the kids a lot on the trip about how this is what it looks like to live in a democracy."

One teacher even proclaimed last week's trip as the best Washington DC trip she's been on in her 15 years, Miller said.

"Overall it was stressful going into it because we wanted the kids to have a good experience," Miller said.

"Until we got there, we didn't know how it was," he said. "We didn't know what to expect, but it exceeded our expectations."

Karrer Middle School is in Washington this week and Davis will go in the spring.