Basalt students headed to Obama inauguration
December 3, 2008
BASALT ” A lack of tickets to the historic Jan. 20 presidential inauguration isn’t stopping 12 students from Basalt High School.
They might have to watch the actual swearing-in on monitors set up on the National Mall, but the students are headed to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States.
The students will be taking advantage of a Smithsonian Institute program that brings high school students from across the United States to the nation’s capital for the inauguration.
“They’re super-excited,” said teacher Seann Goodman, one of two instructors who will accompany the students.
He said the students committed to the trip long before the election, and some are especially excited to be attending the inauguration of their preferred candidate. President-elect Barack Obama, he said, has strong support at Basalt High, and took 82 percent of the vote in its mock election.
The invitation to attend the inauguration was extended to all Basalt High students, Goodman said, and the resulting group is a diverse mix of pupils. Many have never been to Washington, D.C. ” and several are German exchange students.
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The students are scheduled to attend the inaugural parade, as well as a student inaugural ball, Goodman said. And though he has been calling Basalt’s congressional representatives since the election, Goodman said he has had no luck obtaining any of the 240,000 coveted tickets to the actual inauguration ceremony. He has been told the tickets will be assigned through a lottery process, but he holds out hope that the students might receive some by virtue of being students.
“As a school,” he said, “I think we represent the future.”
Even without tickets, the students will be able to watch a live video feed of the inauguration on the National Mall, along with countless other Americans headed to Washington for the ceremony.
The students also are scheduled to visit Washington’s many national monuments, including the Smithsonian museums, Mount Vernon and the Holocaust Museum. And though it is not part of the Smithsonian program, Goodman has set up meetings with Basalt’s congressional representatives, as well. If the U.S. Supreme Court is in session during the inaugural week, Goodman plans to take the students to a court hearing as well.
The cost for the trip is $1,600 per student for the five-day trip, Goodman said, adding that the Basalt students have been holding fundraisers all year to help cover the cost. Goodman said he hopes the pizza sales, raffles and requests to government organizations and businesses will bring the cost down to roughly $1,000 per student.
“My hope is that this inspires kids to go into some form of service for our community,” he said.