Inauguration on the Big Screen at West Fresno School

January 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Some 450 students gathered in their gym to watch history being made on a huge screen courtesy of a local cable company.They watched intently, these 5th through 8th grade students of the West Fresno School District and they listened proudly as a man of color was sworn in as their new president, seeing themselves and perhaps their own futures in President Obama's rise to the highest office in the nation.

Nancy Osborne: "What do you think of this new president?"

Claranisha Givins, "It's cool, he's a black, makin' a change."

Fresno City Council President Cynthia Sterling arranged today's event, enlisting Comcast to give these young people the opportunity to witness history together. Her mother, Elma Sterling, died two years ago she had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. And was the first African American appointed to the Fresno City Council in 1969. Her daughter is the first to be elected and serve as the Council President.

"My mother would be so proud today and that's why it was so important to do something like this," said Cynthia Sterling.

The promise of a shared American future helped sweep Barak Obama into the White House.

It's likely the world stage will add definition to Obama's presidency. But on inauguration day the images on a huge screen filled this darkened gymnasium of young people with new dreams.

"I just want to be the first black woman to be the President of the United States," said Cheri Palons, a student at West Fresno Middle School.

Hundreds of youngster inspired in just one school. There were surely millions of young people all over America feeling empowered by their new president too.

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