Mary Kate DC HSSA

The Legacy that Unites Students Past, Present, and Future

Written By Mary Kate Boyle

The summer before my junior year of high school, I attended the Hillsdale Roots & History of American Liberty trip. I vividly remember surveying the Gettysburg battlefield and listening to the tour guide recall how Hillsdale students fought to the death with a bravery that may have swayed the course of those three days, and in turn, the war. Two years later, I found myself sitting in Western Heritage as a freshman, listening to my professor explain that each new Hillsdale student is part of this legacy.

Although this experience at Gettysburg was uniquely special to those of us who would later attend Hillsdale, the trip as a whole encouraged us to recognize that we were part of something much greater than ourselves. We walked where soldiers charged at Gettysburg and paced the same floor as the Founding Fathers in Independence Hall. We saw George Washington in a more human light as we explored Mount Vernon and gained insight into Thomas Jefferson’s eccentricity as we toured Monticello.

But at the same time, we also saw the present. We experienced the hustle and bustle of Capitol Hill and met Hillsdale interns who were playing their own small part in history. We watched senators debate border regulation and listened to the United States Marine Band play a Sousa march on the Capitol steps. These experiences connected both the past and presentmaking me a more curious scholar and engaged patriot.

I have fond memories exploring different cities with the friends I made. Despite coming from all over the country, the other girls and I bonded over favorite books and inside jokes. We talked and laughed over long bus rides, took selfies with statues, got lost in D.C., and found our way back again. Away from home for the first time, we relished the freedom we had to navigate various cities in search of the perfect lunch.

I am still in touch with the friends I met on that trip, one of whom hosted me when I came for an official college visit, and one of whom I hosted when she came for hers the next year. We are still, in many ways, different people, but we continue to hold these experiences in common. As we explored history, we discovered a new world together that reminds us that we are a part of this nation’s story, and now a part of Hillsdale’s.