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Cultural Connections Trip: National - Part 1

Washington D.C. & Philadelphia

As a part of our Cultural Expeditions Program at PDS, we believe that giving students the opportunity to explore and grow in their understanding of their own culture, its history, and their nation’s capital is essential to developing their understanding of civic duty, their identity as U.S. citizens, and their ability to think globally. This trip is intended to immerse our students in the functions of our federal government, our nation’s history, and to experience one of the most important cities of the world.

5th Grade:
November 5 - 10, 2023

Drop-In Parent Meeting
October 25th, 2023 • 7:45am • Hussey Commons


Registration Deadline: May 1

Through May 1, 2023 $2,250.00
After May 1, 2023 $2,500.00

The cost covers flights, hotels, charter buses, tour guides, and chaperones. Food costs (except breakfasts) and souvenirs are excluded.

Last day to register is August 25, 2023.

A $500 deposit is due at registration. The balance of your registration fee will be added to your PDS account on October 1, 2023.


Our goal is for every boy to experience the benefits of joining this program and preparing them to be a global citizen. Scholarships are available.

He Scholarship

The He Family Scholarship for Cultural Expeditions

He Family Foundation

With the expansion of the PDS Cultural Expeditions Program, we desire for every boy to participate and have these seminal experiences. Through the He Family Scholarship provided by the He Family Foundation, boys with financial need are able to step into historical spaces and cities to understand the culture and experience those locations play in our history.

The He Family Scholarship for Cultural Expeditions is a need based scholarship providing over 10 students the opportunity to participate in the Cultural Expeditions Program.

Each student receiving the scholarship submits a short reflection paper on his time and learning on the respective trip.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1

Meet in Hussey Commons before Departure
Departure for Nashville International Airport
Arrival at BNF and Flight to Reagan National Airport (DCA)
Dinner at Pentagon City Mall
Hotel Check-In Westin Crystal City

Day 2

Breakfast at Hotel
Air & Space Museum
Museum of American History
Lunch at American History Museum
Football and Frisbee on the National Mall
Museum of African American History
Football, Frisbee, and Free Time on the National Mall
Dinner near Gallery Place
Lincoln Assassination Tour

Day 3

Breakfast at the Hotel
Depart for Philadelphia by Charter Bus
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Lunch at Reading Terminal
Tour Independence Hall
Visit the Liberty Bell
Carpenter’s Hall
Dinner in Philadelphia
Arrive at Westin Crystal City

Day 4

Breakfast at Hotel
Tour of the U.S. Capitol
Visit House of Representatives and Senate (if available)
Lunch at U.S. Capitol
Tour the Library of Congress
Tour the Supreme Court (if available)
Football, Frisbee, and Free Time on the National Mall
Tour the National Archives (see the Declaration of Independence & Constitution)
Dinner near L’Enfant Plaza
Monuments Bike Tour (Washington, Lincoln, MLK, JFK, Vietnam, Jefferson, WWII, and Korean War)

Day 5

Breakfast at Hotel
Tour of Arlington National Cemetery
Changing of the Guard
Lunch at L’Enfant Plaza
International Spy Museum
Football, Frisbee, and Free Time on the National Mall
Dinner at Pentagon City Mall
Visit the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon

Day 6

Breakfast at Hotel
Flight from DCA to Nashville
Arrive Nashville
Depart for Memphis by Charter Bus\

Frequently Asked Questions

Are scholarships available for Cultural Expeditions Trips?

Our goal is for every boy to experience the benefits of joining this program and preparing them to be a global citizen. Scholarships are available.

Please use this form to apply for a scholarship.

PDS will utilize the same information provided for your Variable Tuition application to determine eligibility and scholarship amount for Cultural Expedition Program. If you are applying for a CEP Scholarship and not enrolled in our variable tuition program, please contact the Business Office for more information.


The deadline to apply for a scholarship is April 3, 2023.
What do we visit on the trip?
We will visit the Capitol, Supreme Court, pass by the White House, Library of Congress, a bike tour of the monuments, visit the major memorials, Mt. Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Museum of American History, and the Air and Space Museum. We try to provide the students with a balance of historical, cultural, and governmental sites tempered by a fun way of experiencing this from biking the city to investigative walking tours.
Which faculty will chaperone the Washington D.C. trip?
Mr. Tony Rudzena oversees the trip and will be accompanied by several faculty. Prior to the trip, we will notify parents of the various faculty members attending. Faculty act in a similar capacity to a camp counselor if your son has been to a summer camp. Throughout the trip, each boy will be part of a smaller group supervised by a faculty member. Communications will be sent during the trip via Remind App with pictures of your son each day.
What are the dates for the Washington D.C. Trip?
5th Grade Washington D.C. Trip – November 5 – 10, 2023
How will hotel rooms be supervised?

Hotel rooms will be monitored by chaperones. Additionally, each night a security guard is present on the floor in the hotel that’s booked for PDS boys. Typically, there will only be two boys per room. All rooms are sequestered on a floor with chaperones and a security guard present throughout each night.

What is the cost of the 2022-2023 Washington D.C. & Philadelphia Trip?

The cost is $2250 covering flights, hotels, charter buses, tour guides, and chaperones. Food costs (except breakfasts) and souvenirs are excluded.

Is the Cultural Expeditions Trip required?
Our desire is for every boy of PDS to experience their nation’s Capital and many of the most important sites in the founding of our country. While Cultural Expeditions Trips are not mandatory they are an essential component of PDS culture and curriculum. Students not electing to participate in the program will complete the same curriculum and engage in project based learning on campus.
What type of ID should I bring?

We will provide students with a student ID that is sufficient for airline travel within the United States.

Is the cost of food included in our trip?
Food costs are not included in the amount except breakfast. The cost of lunch, and dinner will be each boy’s responsibility. We suggest that each student budget $30 daily for lunch, dinner, and snacks. In order to help you budget for food costs, we will give a precise schedule of meals prior to the trip. Boys typically bring cash and often a credit card or a mix of both. Faculty will help boys look after and allocate their money as needed or requested.
How much money should I bring?

We strongly recommend that boys refrain from carrying too much cash by giving excess amounts to their group leader. They may bring a card if that’s easier. Each morning, group leaders will distribute as much cash as needed. Bring additional money if you plan to buy souvenirs, eat larger than normal portions, or buy snacks.

What should I wear?

We recommend dressing with layers that can be removed or worn as the weather dictates, such as a PDS collared shirt and sweatshirt with a rainproof windbreaker. We always provide a packing list of items to be worn on the trip. We are not traveling to Siberia, but remember that your extremities tend to get cold first so plan accordingly. We walk 7+ miles a day so it is essential that everyone wear a good pair of walking shoes. If you plan to purchase these prior to the trip, we suggest that you wear them a few times to break them in before the trip to avoid blisters. The packing list will be sent several weeks before the trip.

Is there a dress code on the trip?

Yes. When we attend Arlington National Cemetery for the wreath laying ceremony, those students selected for laying the wreath (if the wreath laying ceremony is allowed) will need to comply with the dress requirements stipulated by Arlington National Cemetery. The day we visit the Capitol and Supreme Court, students will need to wear PDS spirit shirts or hoodies.

Additionally, no baseball caps are allowed.

Where is the hotel located?
Each year is typically different, depending on hotel availability. We will typically stay near Reagan Airport in Crystal City, VA.
How much walking is there on the trip?

It’s safe to assume that you will walk on average 7+ miles a day. Since we travel primarily by Metro, it requires that we walk from our hotel to the Metro to every site on the itinerary. We make this an active trip for boys to harness their energy and keep them engaged.

What electronics am I allowed to bring?

Electronics are not allowed on Cultural Expedition Trips. Daily communications are sent through Remind App and trip chaperones.

Am I allowed to carry a backpack to the places we visit?

Yes. However, your bag will be examined and at some federal buildings you are not allowed to bring drinks inside. Chaperones will communicate what is allowed in bags before visiting federal buildings.

Am I allowed to check-in early for my flight?

No. We will check in as a group on the day of our departure. Please do not attempt to check-in early online

For more information on our Cultural Expeditions program, contact Tony Rudzena.