"I'm incredibly excited. I never thought I would have the opportunity to be in D.C. for the inauguration and the experience. I know it is going to be incredible," said Elizabeth Sabol-Jones, a senior at Payton Prep.
From history students who wrote essays to earn their passage to Chicago Public School marching bands and elementary school classrooms studying civics in real time, the excitement over the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th and first African-American president possibly couldn't be greater anywhere else than in his hometown and home state.
"I've been looking forward to this for quite awhile," said Michael Sarchet, a Payton junior.
And so have a group of Chicago police officers who left from O'Hare airport Sunday morning. The 48 officers who are using their vacation time for the trip are being joined by dozens more Cook County Sherriff's deputies and Illinois State Troopers will help with security for the inauguration as a part of a multi-agency security force.
"they are so proud as I am to bea part of this contignet of officers representing the myour and the citizens of the city of chicago ," said Chicago Police Department Chief of Patrols Eugene
And while law enforcement authorities in Washington work to protect history in the making, another group of Chicago students will witness because they wrote about the man at the center of the upcoming historic day.
More than a dozen teens who contributed essays to a recently released book about Barack Obama enjoyed a celebration before boarding a bus for the nation's capital.
" I must admit, I never envisioned that in my lifetime we would be a part of such history," one student read from her essay.
"I always told myself to reach for the stars, and if fall, I will land in the clouds," another student said tearfully.