The President has been elected and seven sophomore and junior students along with one teacher from Oakdale High School plan to travel to Washington D.C. to watch his public inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.
English teacher Toni Zuk is leading the group after AP Government teacher Pete Simoncini had initially planned the trip but then had a conflict. They started recruiting students for the trip in March.
“We wanted to get the kids involved in the election process,” Zuk said, adding that many don’t get involved in the inaugural process and the trip is a way for them to learn more about it.
Students were required to sign up for the trip by Nov. 2, a few days before the election, without knowing who would be the President. Zuk said that if the trip registration deadline was held after the election, there may have been a different turnout for signups. Also, the cost was prohibitive for some as well at $2,200 per person. They will take a red-eye flight to the east coast on Jan. 18 and return on Jan. 22.
Zuk noted that none of students who are going were able to attend the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. and wanted to experience it. She added, however, that she explained to them that this trip will be a different experience than the eighth grade trip. She said she hopes the students will become more aware of the world outside of Oakdale after this trip.
By law, the President must take his Oath of Office on Jan. 20 before noon, but since the 20th falls on a Sunday, there will be a private ceremony on that date and the public ceremony will be held Jan 21.
The OHS group will have a tour guide on every leg of their trip. They are using the educational tour company called World Strides. On the public inauguration day, the students will watch the Inaugural Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, the Presidential Swearing in Ceremony and Inaugural Address. The students will also have their own student inaugural ball with other students from around the nation who are there as part of the same tour.
Zuk reported that while in Washington D.C., they will also take a trip to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, the Smithsonian Institute, various memorials, and also possibly visit either Georgetown University or Virginia Tech.
“They’re excited to see things they’ve been reading about and excited to see things they’ve only heard about and seen in the movies,” Zuk said.