On Wednesday, November 9, a select group of students from Southeast High School participated in the White House Decision Center at the Truman Presidential Library. This was the first trip back to the decision center since COVID forced it to close in the spring of 2020.

The Truman Library is the only presidential library to offer a White House Decision Center. The decision center is a unique experience where students take on the role of President Truman or one of his advisors and confront one of four challenges Truman faced while President of the United States. This year’s decision dealt with the Berlin Airlift of 1947-48. 

At the White House Decision Center, students read through documents to gather information about the mounting crisis in Berlin. They then crafted options on how Truman should handle the situation before meeting with President Truman to debate which option the president should choose. The experience culminated with a press conference where President Truman announced his plan. Students assumed roles as reporters and asked the president questions about the benefits and potential consequences of his decision. The experience was capped off with a brief tour of the newly renovated Truman Presidential Library Museum.

It was so much fun taking students back to the White House Decision Center after not being able to go the past two years because of the pandemic. None of the students had previously participated, so this was much like 2000 when we first started taking students there. Thankfully, I was able to convince a group of students to give it a try. Judging by their reactions, they all had a great time and were happy they had decided to participate. I look forward to taking another group next year. Gary Leiker

Truman Group 2022

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