Government Shutdown Sours Washington Trip For OK Students

Tuesday, October 1st 2013, 5:34 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The shutdown of the federal government means all national parks and many of the monuments in Washington DC are now closed. That's especially disappointing for a group of Ponca City 8th graders who are in the Nation's Capital right now for a school trip.

The kids have been raising money since last year, selling cookie dough and candy bars to go on this trip. Now almost everything they planned to see is closed.

The group of 29 students, and 37 adults from the First Lutheran School of Ponca City arrived in Washington knowing their trip was in jeopardy.

"We heard about it last week when we were getting ready to go and everybody was kind of bummed," said Max Jackson, a student. "We all still had high hopes hoping they would make a compromise."

But Congress could not compromise. And the government shutdown forced the closure of most of the nation's treasures.

9/30/2013 Related Story: Government Shutdown Begins: Congress Fails To Agree On Spending Bill

"Today we had scheduled a tour of the capitol building at 9 o'clock this morning that basically got cancelled, we were going to do go to the American History and Natural History Museum this afternoon and that was cancelled," said teacher Gary Watters.

Tuesday morning, Watters had to come up with a plan B. The Supreme Court was open so the class went there. Other museums that charge admission will be options. And Watters sees an opportunity here to teach. He hopes to take the class to the Senate Gallery to witness some of the historic debate.

"At least we settle our problems in a peaceful way, there's a lot to be said for that," said Watters.

Still, students do hope those problems are settled soon. Before they go home on Saturday.

"Hopefully they get done by then so we can do some of the other stuff like go visit the memorials and go into the capitol building and go check out all those buildings because I would really like to see those," Jackson said.