Crusaders Reflect on their Close Up Experience

4W6A8494As other surrounding area high school students prepare for their upcoming Close Up trip in a week, our Crusaders reflect on their time at Close Up from this past November.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, six Brother Martin juniors and seniors accompanied Mr. Christopher Vicknair, the Close Up Moderator, on the annual Close Up trip to Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg, VA from November 25 to December 2, 2017. The trip is sponsored by the Close Up Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan civic education organization. Through site visits, lectures, and workshop activities, high school students learn the political process and are encouraged to develop their own political efficacy. One of the highlights of the trip included Capitol Hill Day, where Close Up students visited their state’s congressional delegation and saw government at work.

This year, Crusaders were welcomed to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s offices where Mitchell Shea ’10 introduced the Crusaders to Congressman Scalise and guided them on a tour through the Capitol building. Representative Cedric Richmond and Senator Bill Cassidy also met them and answered questions.

Additionally, the Crusaders enjoyed a trip to see the historic Ford’s Theatre where President Lincoln was assassinated. Students were also able to tour the FBI Building and meet with Cindy Franco, attorney with the FBI and wife of Dave Franco ’83.  Alumnus Ronnie Lampard ’02 was also in attendance talking with the students about their busy life at school and their possible college/career choices in law, government, etc. Lampard commented, “I really enjoyed speaking with the Brother Martin students during their Close-Up trip. All of these students possessed a keen interest in government. I have no doubt that they will go on to thrive in their career choices.” Brian Walsh ’09 was also another alumnus that was eager to see the Crusaders in our nation’s capital.

Thank you to all of our D.C. alumni for the hospitality and support that was shown to our young men participating in Close Up!

“Close Up provides a great opportunity for students to learn about American government. Washington, D.C. is a great place to experience how government works. It is always great to speak with current students as they decide on their futures.”
– Ronnie Lampard ’02


The Close Up Trip is offered to students in November of their junior or senior year. For more information or to reserve your place for the 2018 trip, contact Mr. Christopher Vicknair,

Click each name below for a collection of reflections from Brother Martin participants:

Timothy Dixon '18

On the Close Up trip, I liked the many discussions that we had,  the many memorials, and the museums that we went to. My favorite memorial that we went to was the Pentagon Memorial. It had a bench for 184 people that died on September 11, 2001, on the plane and in the Pentagon. My favorite museum that we went to was the Newseum. The Newseum focused a lot on the freedom of the press. I learned about the many different opinions about the different issues that affect me.

– Timothy Dixon ’18

Cameron Gore '18

During last week, I was lucky enough to attend a Brother Martin High School trip to Washington D.C. While I was there, I learned about the fascinating aspects on how the U.S Government functions, and even more about the interesting history of the United States. Most importantly though, this trip made me realize the importance of every citizen, and how our voices can truly make an impact.

As the week progressed, we were fortunate enough to tour the capitol building, the FBI headquarters, and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The group was also able to explore some of the greatest museums in the country, and perhaps even in the world. This included multiple Smithsonian Museums, the Holocaust Museum, and the Newseum. In conclusion, there were amazing experiences I will never forget, and they would never have been possible without this trip.

– Cameron Gore ’18

Jonathan Dunn '18

Close up was a true once in a lifetime experience. I’ve learned so much about how the nation’s government works. From the mock Congress to the programs field study visits, I have truly experienced what Washington D.C. has to offer. The solemn and humble times in front of the memorials and monuments reflecting of the sacrifices and historical monuments in our nation’s history. Closeup offered a chance to make new friendships and countless of memories and experiencing how kids in other parts of the country live their daily life. Close up is by far the best trip that Brother Martin offers to its students, I can attest to it.

– Jonathan Dunn ’18

Nicholas Gendron '19

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Close Up trip. On this trip, students were taken around Washington D.C and taught how the United States government functions. This trip was an excellent experience for me as I became more informed on how our government operates and learned how I have a voice that can be heard in our nation’s government. During our stay in Washington, we were fortunate enough to be able to see many important documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

Additionally, we were given an inside look at the U.S. Capital Building, FBI headquarters, and the Eisenhower Executive office building, an experience I would have missed out on had I not attend this fantastic trip. I hope that as many Brother Martin students who can attend this trip will do so. This trip is a very informative and enjoyable experience to see some of the most important documents, artifacts, and places in our country, as well as an opportunity to see how the government of the greatest nation on this planet operates.”

– Nicholas Gendron ’19