For our final full-day in Little Rock, we had planned diverse activities, all of which we hoped would be rewarding in their own way. When you are planning for graduate school, touring a capitol, and hiking a 1,000 pinnacle, planning ahead is a must.
Clinton School of Public Service
by Miranda Estrada
To prepare for the busy day ahead, we made our way to Nexus Coffee to enjoy much-needed caffeine and pastries before heading to our first stop of the day: The Clinton School of Public Service. Our tour guide, Ms. Christine McCall, is an alumnus from The Clinton School, and she generously shared her personal experience as a graduate student and her job with the school as Assistant Director for Enrollment and Alumni Services.
The Clinton School is unique because of its emphasis on field work throughout the duration of the degree. The master’s in public service is a two-year degree that is separated into three major projects: practicum project, international public service project, and the capstone project.
In the practicum project, students work with local organizations and government entities while taking classes for their first year in the program. The summer after the first year is spent completing the international public service project. Ms. McCall spoke with us about her time spent in Tanzania working for a university to develop a leadership program. The Clinton School has over 300 service projects in over 70 different countries. The global impact the school strives to make has not been seen in another graduate program. For the final year of the program students complete their capstone project where students complete an in-depth public service project to benefit a government, for a non-profit of their choosing.
The Clinton School also offers the “Renowned Speaker Series” where students and the public can come and hear over 100 speakers through the course of a year. The series offers diverse speakers ranging from presidents and prime ministers, pulitzer prize winners, senators and congressmen and congresswomen, to NFL Players. After gaining a more in depth understanding of the program, we thanked Ms. McCall for her time and insight and headed to lunch.
Copper Grill- Quinn Kobrin
For lunch after the Clinton School, we decided to try the Copper Grill. Featuring Southern-influenced dishes, our entrees consisted of crispy catfish, French dip burgers, and roasted pear salads. We also enjoyed sampling the MB’s five cheese mac and cheese and the pimento cheese served with bacon and a baguette. Each dish was tasty and unique, and had a certain Arkansan twist.
Our lunch provided a great second wave of energy for us before our tour the Arkansas capitol.
Arkansas State Capitol- Maggie Denena
Following lunch, LEAP Ambassadors continued to the Arkansas State Capitol for a formal tour. Construction of the Capitol building took place from 1899-1915 and was designed by architects George Mann and Cass Gilbert. Originally not to exceed a construction budget of one million dollars, the completed cost was nearly 2.3 million.
Following an examination of the Capitol’s marble walls…
…our first stop was to the Supreme Court, which featured original mahogany and chandelier lighting.
The walls displayed symbolic triglyphs influenced by Greek architecture, as they were the first to introduce and practice democracy.
On our way to the Senate gallery we stopped to admire two of the four murals in the Capitol, represent education and justice as a Grecian influence. Parallel to the Supreme Court room you’ll find the Governors Reception room, where the final two murals represent war and education, a Roman influence. In the Senate gallery we learned that there are 35 Arkansas State Senators led by the Lieutenant Governor.
Featuring a beautiful stained-glass ceiling commissioned to combat the warm southern sun, the Senate floor was slightly smaller than our next stop, the House of Representatives. As if taken from a Hollywood Palace, the floor House of Representatives was breathtakingly extravagant.
Scagliola columns with Grecian Corinthian designs and 24 carat gold accents line the room, golden lighting from a 2,000-pound chandelier, and seating for the 100-member assembly below the stained-glass dome, the House chamber was truly amazing.
Not to be outdone, we traveled to the Governors Reception room for the final stop of our tour.
On either side of the room was a fireplace, one side had a painted portrait of the Governor that preceded the incumbent (at this time, Governor Mike Beebe), and on the other side, a painted portrait of George Washington Donaghy. The conference table in the center of the room is made of walnut and was crafted by Donaghy to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the State of Arkansas. As our Capitol tour came to its completion, Ambassador’s took a quick picture in front of Beebe’s portrait with our amazing tour guides!
Pinnacle Mountain Hike – Makayla Mason
After the state capitol tour, we quickly went to the hotel to prepare for our hike at the Pinnacle Mountain State Park. It was just a short 30-minute drive to Pinnacle Mountain State Park. We arrived at 4:30pm, meaning we would be able to reach the top of the mountain just as the sun was setting.
We had water, charged cellphones, and excitement (well, some of us).
The hike was very steep and included a lot of climbing over very large rocks. Ryan and Quinn were gentlemen as they carried the backpack with waters…
…one of the cameras, and stayed in the back to help some of us up the challenging trail.
Once we reached the top, at 1,011 feet in elevation, we saw the view that was worth the work!
The sunset was beautiful across the trees and water.
Even though we took some time to primp for the camera…
…we wished we could have stayed longer, but as the sun finally dipped down past the horizon, it became increasingly dark.
We started to make our descent down the mountain. We used the flashlights on our phones to hike down the other side of the mountain that was less steep and more friendly, however still very slippery. Overall, the hike was just over 1.5 miles. We had a great time hiking the fun and challenging trail, but we knew two things: we were hungry and would be sore tomorrow!
Brave New Restaurant- Quinn Kobrin
After our hike up Pinnacle Mountain, we were in some serious need of nourishment. Despite a rather unsettling journey through a building under construction and a sketchy elevator that seemed to be playing tricks on us, we made it to the Brave New Restaurant. We started off by being served brown rolls and butter. Then, after trying some brie and smoked fish, we split several dishes to ensure we each got to taste everything.
The coveted dish of the evening was the walleye fish, which was complemented by roasted potatoes, honey-glazed carrots, and a white butter wine sauce.
Another hit was the half chicken, which consisted of a chicken breast stuffed with boursin cheese, as well as an extra leg and thigh, and came with asparagus and mashed potatoes on the side. Also enjoyed were the mixed grill, which included grilled pork tenderloin, beef medallions, stuffed quail, and wild game sausage, and the duck with duck, which came with the poultry either pan seared or as a sausage.
Afterwards, we split the three desserts that are offered there, including their signature chocolate crème brûlée…
…a mint chocolate chip bowl of ice cream, and the fluffiest cheesecake we’d ever tried. Our wait staff were very friendly and gave superb recommendations. The food was all delicious and left us wanting more. We definitely recommend the Brave New Restaurant, even if it means taking a sketchy elevator ride. It was finally time to head back to the hotel after our physically long day.