The following four letters were written in response to “Tour of Duty” (5/17) by students recently in D.C. on the Close Up program.
I RECENTLY READ your
feature on the Close Up program and am concerned about several inaccuracies in the article. Being a Close Up student myself, I found the article to be unrepresentative of my week in Washington.
Firstly, I found John Cloud’s attempts to portray Close Up as a touristy, uninformative program to be completely unrepresentative of my experience. Not only were the seminars interesting, but the students offered pointed and thoughtful questions. People seemed interested in the program, not falling asleep, as your article indicated.
Although the hotel food left much to be desired, as the article indicated, I believe it was necessary in order to be able to make the program affordable. If the program had been any more expensive, many of the people in my home school would not be able to attend.
Unlike Cloud, I found the week to be an enjoyable and informative experience. Many of my friends and I look forward to coming to Washington in the future.
I WAS ONE OF THE many Close Up students who participated in the activity of exploring Washington, D.C., recently.
I read the article by John Cloud, and I have to agree that he gave the real side of Close Up.
Even though the article sounded as if the program was dull and boring, my week went very well. I learned so many different things and saw monuments that I have always wanted to see.
I have to disagree with you about the PIs, however. I thought that they all did a great job and knew their information.
The article does explain a typical Close Up week, and to some it seems as though we students do not appreciate the experience of coming to Washington, D.C., but I want people to know that I do not, and never will, regret my trip to D.C.
THE ARTICLE WRITTEN by John Cloud on the Close Up program was probably the most immature and poorly written article I have read. I do not need to hear his opinion on food, and definitely not his sexual preference.
I did not spend $1,100 to come to our nation’s capital and be a food court critic. I came here to learn as much about our government system as I could in a week, and Close Up made this possible. I was exposed to many different viewpoints and ideas that gave me a great understanding of all the adversity we have in the U.S.
I also do not see why Cloud must defend his job as a journalist. I think it is a great profession as long as it is practiced in a professional manner. Putting down a group of high-school students trying to be educated is not professional.
I CAN’T SAY YOU DIDN’T
capture a good deal of what Close Up is like. Some think that the language is inappropriate, but it’s real. It’s funny about the one kid who asked if they were going to the f——ing library because it sounds like something a majority of us would say. I’m glad you mentioned something about pronunciation differences. It was always a matter of who was saying the word correctly. You were right on the button about kids falling asleep during the assemblies. I know because it happened to me a few times. Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t that the speakers weren’t good, it was that I didn’t get much rest during the day.
I don’t think the PIs really made the kids afraid of Washington, D.C., I actually learned a lot during this trip—a lot more than I would in school. Personally, I liked Adams Morgan. It looked kind of scummy at first, but the people were really nice. We even went back for a while on our free day. Even though you completely captured the words and actions of the Close Up students, you didn’t really get how they felt. I shocked myself with how much I liked it here. At first, you may not want to go to the “f——ing library,” but you find out, like a lot of things, that it was actually pretty cool. Being a sophomore, I’m definitely planning on coming back next year!