The Impact of Close Up

The Impact of Close Up

By Sage Ducoing ’16

Arriving in Washington D. C. on a freezing Sunday evening, I had no idea of the vast impact and significance Close Up would have on both my life and the lives of my 34 fellow St. Mary’s Dominican High School classmates.

Starting off the week, my classmates and I met with an impressive array of Dominican Alumnae who shared their academic and personal experiences that led them to Washington. Because these women clearly embodied the spirit of VERITAS and lived it in their busy lives, I felt a sense of Dominican community hundreds of miles away from home. Later that day, we broke into groups with other students from across the nation to begin a week-long immersion into political discussion and civic activism.

The next few days were jam-packed with informative visits to various memorials, the Capitol, museums, and private institutions. Among some of my favorites were the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and the National Portrait Museum. I particularly enjoyed my visit to the USIP because of its efforts in preventing and resolving conflict and fostering peace among nations.

Adding to my excitement, I had the opportunity to discover these sites with people I had never met before. The diversity of Close Up students shocked me as I made friends with people from all over the nation of various ethnicities, interests, and weather tolerances. I most enjoyed our varied reactions to the weather and our heated debates on the correct pronunciation of words like “pecan” and “milk.”

Most importantly, since the trip, I now see the American flag as an embodiment of the immense power, prestige, and resilience of the great nation I call “home.” My classmates and I appreciate the efforts of our school and faculty to give us this opportunity.


Celebrating their 18th birthdays during the Close Up trip are (from left) Sage Ducoing, Megan Guidry, and Ali Donnes.


St. Mary’s Dominican High School students visit with Dominican alumnae representing classes from 1957 to 2010 during their trip to Washington, DC for Close Up.

Click here for the photo gallery!