Buchanan junior finds political voicePublished 12:11pm Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Buchanan High junior Allison Cornwell found out something about herself on a recent school trip to Washington, D.C.
She’s a conservative.
It’s not that Cornwell’s opinions and views changed as a result of the trip. She just didn’t know how to label them.
“I didn’t really know what those words “liberal” and “conservative” really meant,” she said. “We listened to some debates between liberals and conservatives … through that I discovered I sided more often with the conservatives.”
Cornwell is one of eight Buchanan High School students who went to the U.S. Capitol March 25-30 through the Close Up Foundation program.
Buchanan has been offering the trip to juniors and seniors since the early 1980s. Stacey Carlin, a Buchanan social studies teacher, organizes the trip. She had a wonderful experience when she took the trip as a student in 1997.
“In my opinion you can learn more about how the government works in one week than you’ll ever learn out of a text book,” she said. “If you are interested in politics, learning about government, or interested in history, it is a great opportunity.”
During the week, students visited Capital Hill, met with local representatives and sat in on debates. They also toured historic neighborhoods and monuments.
For Cornwell, it was a life-changing trip. She believes she’ll become more involved in politics, something she didn’t pay much attention to before.
“I am definitely more interested in what’s going on outside my small town because now I see the impact it has on a larger scale,” she said. “It was way more than I ever could’ve expected it to be.”
Carlin said it costs about $1,800 per student. Students can work concessions throughout the year to cover some of the cost.
Buchanan usually takes the trip the week before spring break.