Madisonville Community College s TRiO Talent Search high school participants from Crittenden County, North Hopkins, Hopkins County Central and Muhlenberg County high schools had an exciting and informative trip to Washington, DC on June 11-14. The educational and cultural experience highlights included a college tour of the University of Kentucky as well as monument tours in DC and visits to Arlington National Cemetery, Mt. Vernon, the Smithsonian Institute and the Ford Theater.

The trip began for the 40 participants with a stop at the University of Kentucky where they were challenged to take precollege advance placement classes in high school, accept leadership roles in school activities, explore various areas of study and apply early for financial aid. Studying abroad and internship opportunities were also encouraged as great options are available for UK students. The group tour allowed the MCC Trio Talent Search participants to explore the campus first hand.

The next stop was Washington, DC beginning at Mount Vernon, George Washington s Estate amp; Gardens. Students viewed Washington s Tomb, toured the Mansion (the centerpiece of Washington s estate along the Potomac River) and more than a dozen other buildings and gardens. The Museum and Educational Center tour included several pictures taken by the students of Washington s wooden teeth. The students experienced the international hustle and bustle at Union Station where the group met their tour guide. Before the trip concluded the group truly appreciated our motorized tour vantage point with the tour guide s historic background of our nation s capital. Highlights of the tour included viewing the buildings that house the three branches of government as well as the Library of Congress, Supreme Court, White House, Embassy Row, Washington National Cathedral and Memorials. Stops were made at the Vietnam, Lincoln, Korean, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Memorials and Arlington National Cemetery. The group reverently observed the dignity of Arlington National Cemetery which is the final resting place of more than 200,000 veterans and their families. Students witnessed the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns and saw the eternal flame at John F. Kennedy s gravesite that was originally lit by Jacqueline Kennedy at her husband s funeral.

The second day in DC began at Ford Theater where the ranger described in detail the night President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Immediately following the presentation, the group crossed the street and visited the Petersen House and museum where Lincoln died. The group then walked to the Smithsonian Institute at National Mall and visited three of the ten different museums: the American History, Natural History, and National Air and Space Museums where the group saw the original plane flown by the Wright brothers in 1903 and Orville Wright s report card. Students also explored the Skylab space station and touched a moon rock. The afternoon included a meeting with District Representative Ed Whitfield in a committee hearing room.

Following the visit to the Museum of Natural History, the group boarded the bus to return home. Students used the Remind online service to stay in the loop and on time throughout the trip. Parents were able to follow the activities through Facebook posts.

MCC Trio staff on the trip included Wes Ausenbaugh, Christian Cates, Jesse Frailey, Marcia Evans, and Anna Leasure from the Trio Talent Search program. Madisonville Community College TRIO Talent Search program serves middle and high school students in Crittenden, Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties. The Federal TRIO Programs are federal outreach and student service programs designed to identify eligible students not only for college enrollment but for college graduation. Regular in-school group workshops, individual and small group sessions, college campus tours, cultural exposure, and coordination with in-school and summer academic enrichment opportunities are included in the program services. An emphasis is placed on rigorous curriculum success to lay the foundation for baccalaureate degree completion.