Selah High School Students Attend Presidential Inauguration
An Experience of a Lifetime!
Amongst the throngs of passionate Americans, 19 Selah High School students had the “experience of a lifetime” as they traveled to Washington DC to witness the Presidential Inauguration.
Accompanied by Selah High School teachers, Christina Thew and David Dwyer, students enjoyed an opportunity to experience history as they were part of the crowd of thousands watching the installation of the 45th President of the United States.
“It was an experience of a lifetime. I think it was amazing,” said Daniela Flores during an interview with KNDO News.
In the same interview, Adrian Au said, “We got to be around the crowd, feel the people’s voices, and heard the little things. It was incredible.”
Thew, an English teacher, along with Dwyer, a social studies teacher, began preparing the students for the cross-country trip last February. In experiencing the event personally, Thew said the feeling of being at the inauguration and the energy of the crowd was indescribable.
“Hearing the energy of the crowd and listening to the announcer introduce the new President of the United States gave me goose bumps,” said Thew. “I have watched the inauguration on television before but never had this kind of reaction. To witness it live is incredible.”
Amid the splendor and pomp and circumstance of the inauguration, students also experienced the controversy which surrounded the event. As the students saw protesters and witnessed demonstrations, Thew and Dwyer used the happenings as a teaching moment. The teachers encouraged students to have meaningful conversations with adults and their peers. They explained to the students about respective dialogue and being sensitive to individuals who have differing political views, and discussed how to objectively listen to others and what it means to listen to understand, rather than to respond or to justify an opinion. Contrasting the negative demonstrations and a good learning experience, the group was surrounded by participants of the Women’s March during the day, where they were able to witness a peaceful protest. Complementing the day of inauguration activities, the group was treated to a fireworks display while standing at the Air Force Memorial during the “Make America Great Again Concert.”
In addition to watching a new president sworn in, students had a packed itinerary full of history as they visited prominent landmarks displayed in the Nation’s Capital. While visiting the sights of DC, students were able to connect the knowledge of what they have learned in their history and English classes with that of what they were experiencing. Included on their schedules the group saw the impressive Lincoln, Jefferson and Martin Luther King Memorials, as well as toured the Korean, Vietnam, and WWII Memorials. Additionally, they visited the Air Force and 9/11 Pentagon Memorials. The group also spent time in the Holocaust Museum where several students had the privileged opportunity to talk to a Holocaust survivor. Further, students toured the new African American History Museum, the American History Museum, Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum, as well as visited the National Archives, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Cathedral and the National Zoo. Finally, the group was honored to tour Arlington National Cemetery where they were humbled by the fact that every grave represented a person who dedicated his or her life in one way or another for the freedoms enjoyed today.
Like Flores said, “It was an experience of a lifetime.”