Fresno Students Heading to Washington DC

January 15, 2009 9:23:23 PM PST
The Presidential Inauguration is just days away. And a group of local high school students is heading to Washington DC for a first-hand glimpse.37 students from San Joaquin Memorial High School in Central Fresno are gearing up for the fieldtrip of a lifetime.

On Saturday, they're flying to Washington DC to be a part of President Elect Obama's inaugural celebration.

Kim Hodges, San Joaquin Memorial's Activities Director, organized the trip back in May.

"We knew it was more than likely going to be the first female, first African-American or the oldest president ever to be elected. So, it kinda spurred me to take this leap, to take that chance with this whole thing and I went with it and here we are," said Hodges.

They tried to get tickets through Congressman Jim Costa's office, but were told ...

"They didn't think they were going to be able to get us that many tickets. They knew it was going to be very difficult so they confirmed it would be impossible," said Hodges.

Instead, the group will watch the inauguration on jumbotrons from afar. The trip is costing each student 21-hundred dollars. 15-year-old Claire Schuschky says it's not about the money but rather, the experience and the message it sends.

Claire Schuschky said "I think that maybe seeing young people will kind of give everyone a view on hey ... we need to start voting. Or, look they're getting involved, the younger generation.

18-year-old Austin Walls-Barcellos agrees ... even though his presidential vote went to John McCain.

"Does that change your excitement for this event?

Austin Walls-Barcellos said, "A little bit but it's still a once in a lifetime thing that I'd still like to go to."

Aside from the inauguration, students will spend the rest of their week touring the capital with Congressman Jim Costa and placing a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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