The 2019 holiday season is in full swing at the White House! Thanks to DreamWakers’ partnership with the White House Historical Association, six students from Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in Washington, DC had the chance to tour the beautifully decorated East Wing on Thursday, learning about the rich history of the White House and its inhabitants.

Calvin Coolidge Senior High School Students with Mass Media Academy Director Zakiya Edens and DreamWakers ED Jillian Scott

The White House Historical Association (WHHA) is a nonpartisan non-profit organization founded in 1961 by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy with an aim to protect, preserve, and provide public access to the rich history of America’s Executive Mansion. In pursuit of that mission, WHHA produces 1600 Sessions, a podcast which aims to provide history and insight about the iconic building that is not just the home of the President, but the People’s House.

WHHA President Stewart McLaurin invited the students, who all study in Coolidge’s Mass Media Academy, to tour the White House and collaborate on an upcoming episode of 1600 Sessions. Mr. McLaurin told the students: “I hope when you go through the White House and you have the opportunity to see it, that you feel pride that it belongs to the American people and not just to any President and First Lady.”

Podcast taping at WHHA with President Steward McLaurin

Following the tour, students joined Mr. McLaurin at WHHA’s office to reflect on their visit. The 200-pound gingerbread house was a highlight for many of the students, in addition to the stately portraits of former Presidents hung throughout the rooms. Toward the end of the podcast taping, Mr. McLaurin answered questions from the students.

When asked by Coolidge senior Camal Shorter about his favorite part of the job, Mr. McLaurin said, “I could work here the rest of my life and still not know all there is to know… For me, it’s the opportunity to always learn; to engage with students like you that encourage me about the future of our country. I really look forward to a time one day when you walk by heading to your office in the White House and you can stop in and say hello!”

DreamWakers is grateful to Mr. McLaurin and the dedicated team at WHHA who provided this opportunity for career exposure and a unique learning opportunity for our students.

Calvin Coolidge Students with WHHA President Stewart McLaurin
Calvin Coolidge Students with WHHA President Stewart McLaurin

For more on the history of Christmas in the White House and the impression a 200-pound gingerbread house left on the students, tune in to the new episode of 1600 Sessions on December 20!

Happy holidays from DreamWakers!