By Polly Keary, Editor
As voters cast their ballots next week, they are deciding more than who will hold power in the coming years.
They are deciding who about a dozen Monroe students will watch be inaugurated in January.
This election year, thanks to the efforts of Monroe High School social studies teacher Mark Potoshnik, about 12 students will get to join a Smithsonian Institute tour of Washington, D.C. that will culminate in the Presidential Inauguration.
“It’s such an impressive event,” said Potoshnik. “It’s a way for kids to expand their minds outside of Monroe, and connect them to what civic duty is, and connect them to the history of the country, and see that the rest of the world is active in politics and that it’s relevant and real.”
So far, 12 students have signed up for the four-day trip.
The first day of the tour, they will see the Smithsonian Museum and as a group will choose which exhibits to see. That evening, they will see war memorials, including those for Korea, World War II and Vietnam, as well as the Lincoln Memorial.
The second day, they will visit Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington Monument and several other important memorials.
On day three, they will attend the Inauguration, then that night there will be an inaugural ball for the students.
“All the students and chaperones from all over the country will go back to the Smithsonian for this ball,” said Potoshnik. “So we will get a chance to mingle.”
The fourth day, the kids will see the Supreme Court, the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress and the National Archives, where they will be able to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
“I’m equally as excited as the students,” said Potoshnik.
The kids are raising about $1,600 each to take the trip. In order to do it, they are holding several fundraisers. Upcoming fundraisers include poinsettia sales and a parent’s night out, a night in which parents can drop young kids off with the class at the school and enjoy an evening to themselves.
It’s a lot of money for kids to raise in just two months, but the experience will be worth it, said Potoshnik.
“This will be an eye-opening experience for the bigger world,” he said. “They will come back pretty changed.”
There is still time for interested students to sign up. To learn more, or to donate to the fundraising effort, email email@example.com.