D.C. - The presidential inaugural week is something nine Hopi High
Close Up students will never forget.
nine attended the inaugural parade after barely missing out on the
inaugural swearing-in ceremony.
students attempted to attend the inaugural, but like thousands who
were in Washington, D.C., they were not allowed in because more
than one million had already made their way in and security wouldn't
allow any more people in.
students were up by 3:30 a.m., left the hotel by 4:30 and were in
line by 5 a.m. The students waited in line for more than five hours,
standing in nine-degree weather, and they were squeezed in like
the students made it past the security gate known as checkpoint
Charlie, they learned that the entrance to the inaugural had been
shut down. The good news was that they were right where they needed
to be to watch the inaugural parade.
waiting several more hours, the parade started. Before the parade
started, the students had a chance to see parade spectators holding
political signs, singing and dancing as the crowd was in a festive
the military bands marched by, President Barack Obama and his wife
Michelle walked by in the parade, probably no more than 25 yards
away from the students. It was an electric moment for the nine Hopi
High students and the crowd as just seeing the new president brought
a roar from the crowd.
later, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife also walked by in the
Up is a national civic organization that brings students to the
nation's capital throughout the school year to study the federal
government including the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court.
Hopi High was fortunate to get chosen during the week of the inaugural.
Hopi High students also had a chance to tour various museums, meet
with U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, spend time with Close Up students
from other states, attend a Close Up inaugural ball and the inaugural
concert, which was held on the Mall.
Honyouti, a junior, said she had a great time meeting people from
different states while learning quite a bit about the background
of America. She said being a part of history by participating in
the inaugural week was cool.
best part of the trip was being here in Washington and seeing our
new president," she said. "The inauguration was crazy,
but it was fun, exciting and great to be there."
said she enjoyed learning about the memorials and thought it was
better than reading about them in books. She also found it interesting
meeting Rep. Kirkpatrick.
Mansfield, a junior, said the best part of the trip was that the
Close Up staff was nice and helpful. She said during Close Up workshops
they met people from different states who were funny and cool.
said she enjoyed the inauguration.
was really cold and it took five hours to get in, but it was all
worth it in the end because we saw Obama," she said.
was also thrilled because she saw U.S. Sen. John McCain walking
by when they were visiting the Senate building. Of course, McCain
is a senator and former presidential candidate and from Arizona.
Butler, a junior, recounted how she waited in line for five hours
in the extreme cold, but emphasized that going to the inaugural
parade and the inaugural concert were fun.
the concert, we got to see ourselves on TV and I saw a lot of famous
people," she said.
Rucker, a junior, called the week a once in a lifetime experience
as they got to see the first African-American president.
was great to see this happen," she said.
said from this trip she learned what happens when a new president
takes office. The Close Up students also had a mock election and
Rucker said this taught her how to run her own campaign.
Sidney, a junior, said Washington, D.C. was one of the greatest
cities he has been to and he learned how to express himself. He
said the monuments and the atmosphere was spectacular.
I even learned how to be patient and wait in long lines in the cold,"
he said. "I know that witnessing and being a part of history
is something I will carry with me in my life and share with other
said the experience also taught him to be a role model, good citizen,
independent, a communicator and to build friendships with others.
Navakuku, a sophomore, said one of the most memorable moments was
seeing President Obama walk right in front of him during the parade.
moment I'll remember is waiting by a gate for six hours in very
cold weather," he said. "But the wait was worth being
part of history. Even though we didn't see the actual swearing in,
we were still there to be part of it."
Torivio, a junior, said he enjoyed the inaugural concert, but that
he and Sidney got lost.
was a fun and scary experience because we got kinda close to the
stage," he said.
said the long, cold wait for the inaugural was worth it because
they were able to see President Obama in the parade.
had just got out of his limo and was walking down the street when
he passed us. It was way cool," he said. "Another thing
was watching former President Bush leave."
flew away in a helicopter following a luncheon with President Obama
just before the parade.
liked the Close Up inaugural ball.
got to dance the night away and have fun," he said.
Lomayaktewa, a junior, said he learned a lot about politics and
was able to get a good photograph of President Obama. He was also
glad to see places that he usually only sees on television.
I get to go back to school and tell everybody that we saw the president,"