GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) – Grand Rapids Public Schools scholars learn about our nation’s history from a young age. This spring, they had a chance to witness that history firsthand.

More than 500 middle and high school scholars were able to travel to Washington D.C. for one week to visit museums and monuments. They also had the opportunity to meet politicians who represent Michigan at the U.S. Capitol.

“It's nice to be able to tie together what they learned in the textbook and then go on and see and experience it firsthand,” said Erin Anderson, principal at Westwood Middle School.

The trips in April and May were part of Close Up, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, civic education organization that organizes events for students across the country.

“It was a surreal experience,” said Daniel, a scholar at Riverside Middle School.

“I saw the White House, the Lincoln Memorial was a great experience,” said Valerie, a scholar at Westwood Middle School. “A lot of walking, too, but it was worth it to see all that.”

The trip was free for scholars thanks to Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funding.

“Thank you for picking me to come to D.C.,” said Harmoney, a scholar at Riverside Middle School. “This opportunity was great. I liked it.”