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Dayton City School students visit Washington, D.C., funded by SouthEast Bank

April 10, 2024

With help from a SouthEast Bank donation, local 8th grade students deepen history and science education with trip to U.S. Capitol

For many in the Dayton City School (DCS) community, the annual 8th grade field trip to Washington, D.C., is considered a rite of passage. However, due to COVID-related closures and rising costs, the tradition had been put on hold since 2019.

Eighth-grade students from Dayton City School smile in Washington, D.C., with a sign and T-shirts thanking SouthEast Bank for the generous donation that funded the trip.

“For many of our families, this trip is considered to be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event,” said DCS teacher Candice Tilley. “And yet the cost was prohibitive to many of them.”

This year, SouthEast Bank partnered with DCS to revive this opportunity by donating more than $63,000 to fund the trip.

During the 8th grade pep rally and check ceremony in January, Loan Officer Randy Wells spoke about SouthEast Bank’s focus on empowering local students to and through education.

Dayton City School faculty and students celebrate a $63,537 donation from SouthEast Bank to fund the eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C.

“As a local institution deeply rooted in Middle and East Tennessee, SouthEast Bank sees education as a cornerstone for community development,” Wells said. “That’s why we are excited to partner with Dayton City School in providing this impactful and educational experience, as it marks a significant opportunity to contribute to a well-rounded and inspired future generation and ease the financial burden on family and school resources.”

The field trip to Washington, D.C. took place over three days in early March 2024, designed to edify students’ in-class history and science learning curriculum, including visits to the Capitol Building, National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, numerous war memorials and Smithsonian exhibits, as well as the National Zoo.

When reflecting on the impact of their trip, student Cristian Rios-Aguilar said, “Some of my favorite things were the Lincoln Memorial because of how big it was and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial because he’s my favorite president. Also, Arlington because it’s something I’ll probably never see again.”

Callie Songer loved the Natural History Museum, saying, “Seeing all the fossils was super cool.”

Aceon Riggs said his favorite memory was “the silence and the respect at the memorials in D.C., and the feeling that you get when you’re there.”

Simeon Toliver echoed, “When I saw the [Vietnam] memorial, I felt something different. The names on that wall have changed my life and the way I see veterans and how I greet them.”

“Taking a trip to our nation’s capital allows students to better understand their future role as a citizen in our government and see the places where our government leaders work,” said Tilley. “The financial donation from SouthEast Bank made this trip a reality that these kids will never forget.”

SouthEast Bank is proud to invest in local educational initiatives by fostering foundational skills and opening doors to opportunity.

About Dayton City School

Dayton City School is a single K-8 school located in Rhea County. The Dayton City School vision is committed to a continued focus on collaborative culture in order to facilitate the highest levels of teaching and learning. Dayton City School is proud to be recognized at the highest level as a provider of “exemplary” education to our community.

For more information, visit

About SouthEast Bank

SouthEast Bank is a community bank headquartered in Farragut, Tennessee. With assets in excess of $2.6 billion, SouthEast Bank offers a full suite of loan and deposit products and services for families and businesses throughout Middle and East Tennessee, including its specialty consumer loan division, ELFI, which specializes in educational loan programs. SouthEast Bank is committed to the financial success of its customers, employees, and communities. Local decision-making and community involvement have been the driving successes of SouthEast Bank since its inception. Member FDIC.

For more information, visit or call 1-844-732-2657.