Michelle Obama's high school celebrates

January 20, 2009 3:41:33 PM PST
The city of Chicago is bursting with patriotic pride, especially at Whitney Young High School, the new First Lady's alma mater. Whitney Young High School students had finals on Tuesday; not something that typically ignites jubilation. But the day is nonetheless filled with it.

Watching the inauguration is, as Dr. Joyce Kenner described it, a "teachable moment."

"It teaches the kids that if you set for mind to something and you're really passionate about it, go all the way and perhaps you can accomplish your goal," said Dr. Joyce Kenner, Whitney Young principal.

The students are celebrating a special connection to the history they're watching. Michelle Obama is one of them. In 1981, Michelle Robinson - the senior class treasurer -graduated from Whitney Young.

"I think it helps us as students by having someone so successful so close to us," said Brittany Smith, Whitney Young senior.

Another connection- clarinetist Anthony McGill, also a former student at Whitney Young, played at the inauguration as President Obama took the oath of office.

For those who had history finals here today, watching history being made is a lot more fun.

"I'm just overwhelmed with excitement. I never thought this would happen," said Laronye Parker, Whitney Young senior.

"Martin Luther King laid the pavement. Barack Obama is making the dream come alive," said Dominick Williams, Whitney Young freshman. "We must pick ourselves up and begin the business of remaking America."

The president spoke of a moment that will define a generation. Among this generation, there are high hopes and great expectations.

"I liked his quoting of George Washington. We have made it very far. Why should we stop now just cause we're going through troubles," said Alyssa Vivinis, Whitney Young sophomore.

Teachable moments.

"If he can do everything he promises, it'd be awesome. It's just whether or not, he can accomplish those things," said Jason Shintani, Whitney Young student.