A group of Parkway high school students will be packing aboard two buses Friday evening to drive to Washington, DC, for President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony on Monday.
The group is comprised of 84 students from all five high schools and 14 teacher and administrators. Social Studies Coordinator Toby McQuerrey is helping organizing the trip and said it represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“It's really a capstone experience for our students who have been studying American history and government since first grade,” said McQuerrey. “[The inauguration of a U.S. President] is significant to the whole world.”
By driving through the night on Friday, the students and staff will have time to visit some of the landmarks and museums in the capital on Saturday and Sunday. The swearing-in ceremony itself is set for Monday on the steps of the United States Capitol building and the public is expected to gather on the National Mall.
The mix of students will include supporters of both President Obama and his former opponent, Republican Gov. Mitt Romney. In fact, McQuerrey explained that the students had to sign up for the trip in the spring, long before the presidential race was decided.
In McQuerrey’s opinion, the value of the trip isn’t attached to a particular set of politics. Instead, it’s about being part of such a large crowd with the same energy and purpose. He likened it to attending a huge concert.
“The purpose is to give these students an experience that they feel, because I think that’s the kind of memory that lasts,” he said.
The entire crew will pack up again on Tuesday morning and drive all day, then it’s back to the classroom for teachers and students on Wednesday.
Check back with Patch for interviews with students about their experiences at the inauguration next week.