CAPITAL MEMORIES: The Bluebonnet Government Youth Tour


A visit to the White House was just one stop for Isabella Stasulli, left, and Olivia Weiss during a weeklong educational trip to Washington, D.C., sponsored by Bluebonnet. (Photos courtesy Isabella Stasulli and Olivia Weiss)

By Lisa Ogle

A whirlwind tour of American history and government in action left deep impressions on two Central Texas teenagers who went to Washington, D.C., in June as part of a national program to educate aspiring young leaders. Isabella Stasulli, who recently graduated from Bastrop High School, and Olivia Weiss, who is entering her senior year at Brenham High School, were chosen in March to represent Bluebonnet during the 2015 Government-in-Action Youth Tour. They joined 125 young people representing Texas electric co-ops and 1,500 teens representing electric co-ops across the country on a visit to the White House and a tour of the Smithsonian Institution museums, the U.S. Capitol and other historic sites.

“Making friends from all over Texas and from other states was my favorite part of the trip, aside from visiting Arlington National Cemetery,” said Stasulli, who enters the University of Texas at Austin this month to study biology. “The history of Washington, D.C., is very rich, and all of the monuments and historical sites were breathtaking.”

This year’s Government-in-Action Youth Tour marks the 50th anniversary of Texas’ participation in the national educational program, which was championed by then-U.S. Sen. Lyndon Johnson before he was president.

After an overnight flight to Washington, D.C., the trip began with a stop at the National Cathedral, the second largest cathedral in the United States and a spiritual center known for its impressive Gothic architecture.

“That was my favorite,” Weiss said. “It just had so many beautiful things in it.”

Other stops included the Newseum, an interactive museum dedicated to the First Amendment; Old Town Alexandria in Virginia, a vibrant historic district; and Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.

“It was a great learning experience” about history and government, Weiss said. “It got me really excited about learning again.”

Learn more about the youth tour program, and how to apply for the 2016 tour, at Click on Scholarships under the Community tab.

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