They packed new suitcases with new dresses, suits and ties.
"I'm kind've happy. I'm nervous. I feel like I'm having an anxiety attack. I feel like my heart might jump out of my chest,” said 16-year-old Angelo Larry.
Larry and nine other Tampa High School students will travel the farthest they’ve ever traveled.
"I've never been on an airplane before, never in my life. This is my first flight actually,” said Larry.
"Some of our kids haven't even crossed the bridge, the Howard Franklin or the Gandy Bridge into St. Petersburg,” said Stephanie Brown Gilmore, Tampa Housing Authority Director of Program Services.
The Tampa Housing Authority made the trip to Washington, D.C. possible choosing the youngsters based on essays -- powerful words describing how education is opening doors.
"There are no males in my family graduated high school and went to college,” said Larry.
The students, four of ten from Blake High School, will visit the Smithsonian, Capitol Hill and meet members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
"We hope to do maybe a college tour that will give her an opportunity to look at campuses somewhere else other than just locally in the south and just see what it's like living in a really big city,” explained Brown Gilmore.
The idea is to open students' eyes to opportunities outside their Tampa neighborhoods.
"I've learned that education will take you many places, places beyond dreams,” said Larry.