PATERSON, NJ- On May 14, 37 high school students from NJCDC programs traveled to Washington, D.C. for an unforgettable two-day trip. The teens primarily represented NJCDC's Paterson Youth Council (PYC), a citywide youth-led and youth-driven civic program that serves as the premier voice for Paterson's young people, and were joined by members of NJCDC's Great Falls Teen Center and Compete for Life programs.

Thanks to assistance from NJCDC Board of Trustees Vice Chair Tony Coscia, the youth traveled to our nation's capital via Amtrak. Upon arrival at the historic Union Station, the students were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour, as well as lunch. They then headed to the U.S. Capitol for a guided tour and were wowed by the stunning architecture and artwork. Next, the group enjoyed dinner and a stroll in the city's picturesque Georgetown neighborhood before settling into their hotel in Maryland.

After a good night's sleep, the students returned to Washington and started the second day of their trip with a tour of the Library of Congress, the country's oldest federal cultural institution. Eager to see more city landmarks, the teens visited the United States Supreme Court Building and later toured the White House Visitor Center. After lunch, the students visited several more monuments, including the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in West Potomac Park, before heading back to Union Station for the train ride home.

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The trip certainly made a lasting impression on the future leaders. Aamya Perez, a PYC member and a junior at International High School, said, "Taking this trip to Washington, D.C was amazing in that it not only let us experience and learn more about the history of Union Station, but the history of the United States as well. Having been exposed to the atmosphere and workings of our nation's capital, I am honored and grateful to be provided with a fresh perspective and a new view."

Rose Corcino, a sophomore at International High School and a member of the Great Falls Teen Center, shared that, "This trip made me feel closer to American history. Seeing all of these historical monuments was truly amazing, not to mention the fact that we got to represent Paterson, New Jersey and talk to people about it when they saw our shirts. It was a wonderful experience."

Bob Guarasci, NJCDC's CEO, stated "We offer our gratitude to Tony Coscia for his assistance in making this trip possible, and we also honor the memory of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg whose lifetime of service inspires this trip each year."


This story is shared with permission from NJCDC.