“I have been interested into going into the government for work and I feel like if I am going to go into the government, I need to know how civics and our government works,” said Mia Vizzerra, who will be a freshman at University High in Phoenix in the fall. “I feel like the history and government part of school is overlooked a lot. That’s why I think this is so great for kids that wouldn’t get the chance to do this.”

The students, 30 chaperones and some Cardinals staff — including Bidwill — climbed on the plane after a boarding process that was anything but normal.

As the kids checked in they were greeted by the Cardinals’ mascot, cheerleaders and a special appearance by wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who took photos and signed autographs. Once bussed to the tarmac, Bidwill and Ducey delivered a few remarks alongside Cardinals rookies who attended.

“I think this is awesome,” Hopkins said. “Something like this is life-changing. To go somewhere and do something they have interest in, I don’t think a summer trip could be much better.I think this is something that should happen every year, and happen in other cities as well.”

In Washington, the group will work with Close Up, a company with a long tradition of hosting students on D.C. trips. The hope is that friends and memories are made, but also that it inspires some as they eventually become the leaders of tomorrow.

“This is part of our commitment to social justice,” Bidwill said. “We want to teach the next generation of young leaders how to engage in civil discourse, how they can affect change, how they can get involved in their own communities. We wanted to give them a special experience.”

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