St. Joseph students making trip to inauguration

Published 10:59 am Thursday, December 4, 2008

It is an historic event most will only see on television, but a group of local residents will be there to see it in person.

Eight St. Joseph High School students will attend the presidential inauguration next month in Washington, D.C. Each year the school participates in the Close Up program that encourages active citizenship among high school students by giving them an insider’s view of national government.

Glenna McClain who is both a teacher and Close Up adviser at the school, said when she was contacted this spring by Close Up Foundation staff members and told of the inaugural week trip, she thought the idea was the chance of a lifetime for her students.

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Plans began before anyone knew who the two presidential candidates would be.

“I just thought that this is such an important event, no matter who it was (being sworn in) the kids would be fortunate to be able to do this,” McClain said.

St. Joseph senior John Boykin is one of the eight students making the trip. He said he is excited, particularly since he supported Barack Obama in the first place.

“I’m glad this happened in my lifetime,” Boykin said.

In addition to the inauguration, the students will meet U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson, the staff of one or both U.S. senators and tour other D.C. landmarks. They will also attend an inaugural ball specifically for Close Up students.

“The main thing is for the students to learn how government works and this allows them to participate to the extent that they get to ask questions,” McClain said.

The St. Joseph delegation will leave Jan. 17 and return Jan. 23.