Imago Dei Washington DC Trip 2023

The Imago Dei Leadership Program for our 8th graders culminates with an amazing journey to Washington, D.C. After nine months in the classroom, students board a bus for a 5-day trip of a lifetime!

This is where everything comes together, as students take a behind the scenes tour of the U.S. Supreme Court, visit the U.S. Capitol, explore select national monuments and museums, as well as hear from Christian leaders in the media, politics, and civil rights on how to view ourselves and others as image-bearers of God (and what happens when we do!). Our speakers include Shannon Bream (Fox News Anchor), Chaplain Barry Black (U.S. Senate Chaplain), and Tim Goeglein (Vice President for External Relations for Focus on the Family).

We left on a Monday with sixteen 8th grade students and three chaperones—Michelle Baldwin (Pathways), Mona Wesley (Pathways/Admissions Director), and me (John Murray).

Day 1….Travel To DC

We boarded the bus at 9:30am for our 6-hour trip to D.C.!

Jefferson Memorial

One of our first stops was the Jefferson Memorial. Here we discussed the complex man that Jefferson was and his influence on American history.

The White House and the  Washington Monument 

Next, we enjoyed the National Mall, as we stopped in front of the White House and and ran around the Washington Monument!


WWII Memorial


We took a moment to recognize of the amazing sacrifice of our troops at the WWII Memorial, especially those from our home state of North Carolina.

We ended the day with dinner at Ledo Pizza, after which we checked in at the Bolger Center and enjoyed a workout in the fitness center (Coach J would have been proud!) before going to bed.

Day 2…Capitol Hill

We toured Capitol Hill after being on the House floor (no pictures allowed). 

We posed with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Rotunda and Frederick Douglass (my personal favorite).  

Also, we will have our official photo with Congressman Aderholt mailed to us!


Ford’s Theater

We got to watch a one-act play called One Destiny about Lincoln’s assassination in Ford’s Theater–a very sad day in American history.

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black

Later on Day 2, students got the amazing opportunity to meet Senate Chaplain, Barry Black. They did a great job engaging him with thoughtful questions!

Day 3…”I Have a Dream” Speech at the Lincoln Memorial

We had an amazing start to the day with the giving of the “I Have Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing the memorial itself is already awe inspiring, but giving this powerful speech in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an unbelievable opportunity for our students.

Museum of the Bible and Shannon Bream

Later that day, we visited the Museum of the Bible and had a tasty lunch on their rooftop diner.

Afterwards we got to meet and hear from Fox News Sunday anchor and best-selling author Shannon Bream.

Museum of African American History and Culture

We finished up Day 3 by visiting the Museum of African American History and Culture. A very moving experience. 

Day 4….Congresswoman Alba Adams

Day 4 began with our group meeting with Congresswoman Alba Adams. She is the representative from our district of North Carolina. 

Library of Congress

We toured the Library of Congress and discussed the importance of reading and expanding one’s knowledge of the world.

The U.S. Supreme Court

We had a private tour and lunch at the U.S. Supreme Court!

National Zoo

Our last visit of the day was some down time at the National Zoo. Sadly we didn’t see any Bulldogs. 😉

Day 5…Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial


We started our final day with a visit to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

One of my favorite quotes is written on the memorial “Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that, hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that”.

Tim Goeglein

Our final stop and our final speaker of the week was Tim Goeglein, the Vice President for External Relations for Focus on the Family. He is a longtime friend of mine and has a great heart and rapport with teens!

Traveling home

Though we are eager to get home to our families, we enjoyed a very full week and will not soon forget all that we saw and learned.

Imago Dei Leadership trip to Washington, D.C.