MILWAUKEE -- A group of Milwaukee Public School 7th graders is going to be spending the day in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
The 29 students from Victory K-8/Italian Immersion School departed from Mitchell Airport this morning.
The trip is part of MPS's Be the Spark program, which gives students the chance to explore career opportunities.
Be the Spark began approximately four years ago, with 7th graders touring local businesses.
The program is organized by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce's Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE) and the transportation costs to the different tour sites are paid for by Southwest Airlines.
"These kids are the future workforce in Milwaukee and our country," said Paul Sweeney, COSBE board member and organizer of the trip to D.C. "We need them to start thinking about careers at an earlier age so they can start taking classes to prepare them for the type of career they want."
But this year, students from Victory K-8/Italian Immersion were given a chance to expand the experience through the trip to Washington.
After a tour of the Southwest Airlines operation at Mitchell Airport, the class traveled to Washington, D.C. to take in sites like the White House, U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, and Arlington National Cemetery.
"I feel really excited," said 7th grader Rachel Tze.
"I'm most looking forward to looking at the memorials in D.C., and getting to see all the experiences and career possibilities," she added.
MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver said 7th grade is a good time for kids to begin brainstorming about possible colleges and careers.
"They're just starting to figure out what their interests are," she said.
Driver added she hopes the students on the trip make the most of such a special opportunity. MPS is open to expanding the program in the future.
"I just really want students to talk about the history, and what it means for them today," Driver said.