Saturday, July 13, 2024

Grafton Teacher and Student Chosen for Young People’s Continental Congress

Andrew Abeyounis and Marissa Luebke are representing Virginia at the the Young People’s Continental Congress in July. (YCSD)

YORKTOWN — With 2024 marking the 250th anniversary of the first Continental Congress and the Carpenters’ Company — the nonprofit organization founded in 1724 that owns and operates Carpenters’ Hall, where the original Continental Congress meeting took place — will host students and teachers from the 13 original colonies for a week of learning in July.

Grafton High School history teacher Andrew Abeyounis and Grafton High School rising senior Marissa Luebke will be representing Virginia.

The Young People’s Continental Congress selected teachers from the original 13 colonies and the City of Philadelphia to attend the 2024 inaugural event, and those teachers then got to choose a student to attend with them.

“The people who are running the event selected the teachers and then the teachers selected the student who would accompany them,” Luebke said. “It felt so nice to be chosen by Mr. A.”

Abeyounis is passionate about teaching history, and as he makes his lesson plans for the school year, he aims to come up with creative ways to teach the subject at hand.

“The more knowledge you have, the more you can tell the students and hopefully you can find something that they are actually interested in. Hopefully, you find that thing and they will go down the rabbit hole with you and actually be interested in whatever story I can tell them,” Abeyounis said.

For Luebke, she’s excited to get an inside look into the past.

“It’ll be nice to see another side of history outside of what we already have here,” Luebke said.

During their week-long stay in Philadelphia, Abeyounis and Luebke will have the opportunity to tour Independence Hall, the Museum of the American Revolution, the National Constitution Center, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. They will also take part in daily discussions on democracy and social justice.

“This trip is basically like nerd vacation. We’re going to Philadelphia and we’re going to see a bunch of the historical sites and be personally toured around by all the experts. I couldn’t plan a better vacation if I tried to do it myself,” Abeyounis said.

In addition to the trip in July, Abeyounis and Luebke have been attending monthly seminars on historical topics and how they relate to the world today.

“It’s been a good experience to get a deeper look into history. With all the meetings, we’ve been hearing from professionals and digging deeper into specific subjects. By speaking to a modern expert in it, they’ve also been able to relate the topics to modern issues, so it’s cool to see the parallels between what’s happened,” Luebke said.

Abeyounis couldn’t be more excited about the trip.

“When I was first told of this opportunity, I was very excited. But getting to choose a student to do something super cool is the reason why I said yes to this thing. As an educator, it’s great to be able to do something in the classroom but whenever you can leave the classroom and do something like a professional conference, it’s really, really special,” Abeyounis said.

In 2025, the Young People’s Continental Congress will be expanded to include 56 delegates from all 50 states and jurisdictions.

For more information on the Young People’s Continental Congress initiative, visit

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