Parkway students who traveled to Washing to D.C to witness President Barack Obama take the oath of office this morning described witnessing the event as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The group of 80 students was among the estimated crowd of 700,000 who gathered on the National Mall to witness the ceremonial swearing in and hear the Obama’s inaugural address, which laid out his priorities for his second term. It made a strong impression on Parkway South senior AshaThanki.
“It was phenomenal,” she said. “I didn’t realize it was going to be so different to see it live … it’s really a beautiful sight.”
For Parkway Central senior Madison Edwards, the memory of being part of such a large crowd wrapped up in the historic nature of the moment is something she expects to stick with her.
“We were all smiling and cheering and it was just a really amazing thing to see,” she said.
However, it wasn’t just all pomp and circumstance. The two students also paid close attention to Obama’s remarks after he took the oath of office. National media outlets reported that Obama’s inaugural address was the first ever to mention gay rights, and it caught Edwards attention as well.
She said the President expressed a need for there to be equality for all, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, which she thought “that was amazing for him to say.”
This past fall, Thanki worked as an intern for Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign this fall and felt the ceremony was special because it represented both a payoff for all her hard work and a unifying experience for everyone who attended, no matter their politics.
Parkway Coordinator of Social Studies Toby Maquerrey helped lead the trip and has been impressed with the interested the group has shown toward exploring the nation’s Capital.
“I think sometimes people have a negative option of young men and women, of teenagers,” he said. “But when you see them here and walking around D.C. experiencing something that is historic like that, you realize they get it, and I think they get it more than we as adults get it.”
As an example, he pointed to the student’s undaunted willingness to visit the various memorials and landmarks, even at night with temperatures dipping below freezing.
“Their class studies seemed very real to them all of the sudden,” he said.
For photos and more from the trip, visit the Parkway Inauguration 2013 page on Facebook.