Texas Students Witness Government Shutdown on Trip - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Coverage of the stalemate in Congress that forced the U.S. government to a standstill

Texas Students Witness Government Shutdown on Trip

Eighth grade students and teachers say they saw more than they normally would.



    A group of students from Trinity Valley School got a unique look inside the government shutdown during a trip to Washington, D.C. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013)

    The two week government shutdown appears to be near an end, but during the height of the federal closure a group of North Texas school kids a unique look inside Washington, D.C.

    It's a trip students at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth look forward to for years in advance. While it's always an experience of a lifetime to visit the nation's capitol and surrounding areas, the government shutdown made this year's experience unique but not all bad.

    "Almost everything on the itinerary we couldn't end up doing, so it was just a lot of improv," said Amanda Fisk, a Trinity Valley eighth grader.

    Instead of seeing their government in action, 82 eighth graders experienced the government shutdown first hand. They were still able to see the Tomb of the Unknowns, the outside of The White House and The Capitol. In fact, the closure actually opened up opportunities.

    "We got to go into the House of Representatives and meet a bunch of congressman and Ted Cruz, which was really cool," said Audrey Jacobs.

    They met the Texas senator at the World War II Memorial, a flash point during the shutdown, but where more importantly for this group they got to meet local veterans.

    "I was really glad we got to do that," Fisk said.

    Teacher Mary Mack Elliott started the trip 24 years ago. While it didn't go quite as planned this time, her students learned more than they may even realize.

    "Doors just started opening to us," Elliott said. "We had just been studying the time before the Civil War, where compromise began to fail, and they saw compromise failing."

    "They got a real life civics lesson," said fellow teacher Laura Montgomery.

    It's a lesson not lost on their students.

    "It's like seeing what you're learning," Jacobs said.

    "It's like a real life history," said Fisk.

    And it's also an experience they'll never forget.

    "If it ever happens again, we can go, 'I was there once'," Luke Vasquez said.

    Most of the museums they had intended to see were closed. They also had to deal with closures at parks and monuments where they hiked and rafted.