Inauguration 2013 means trip of a lifetime for Chicago students

January 20, 2013 (WASHINGTON)

The students, who attend Alcott College Prep, grabbed a bite in the Washington at Chicago favorite Potbelly on the Saturday night before they would see the 57th presidential inauguration.

They said it was the trip of their lifetime.

" I'm thinking it'll be cold but still a lot of fun, and being with a lot of my friends is going to make it even better," said student Caroline Adams.

"It's even more exciting knowing that president that is being elected is from Illinois, and more specifically, Chicago. So, it's a president from where we live and we grew up, and also, it's an African-American president," said Lauren Stanciel, also an Alcott student.

The 17 students were able to make the trip that was offered to all of the school's students. During their time in Washington, they also planned to see the historical sites of the nation's capitol. On Monday, they have up-close, ticketed seats in to see Mr. Obama's swearing in front of the general public.

"I put boots to the ground. We called Mike Quigley's office, and they're the ones who got us actual tickets. So, we are going to be in an actual ticketed area for the ceremony on Monday-- all 20 of us. He spent an hour with us at school yesterday [Friday], and it was awesome," said Alcott College Prep social studies teacher Jenny Vincent.

"Not as historic as the first time he was inugurated because he was the first African-American president, but it's still pretty historic, and he's done a few things to change the country, and I think he has helped," student Elijah Palden said.

All of the students are years away from being able to vote, but they said they still appreciated the significance of the inaugural process and some of the political issues, like the economy, that President Obama faces as he takes his second oath of office .

It's an out-of-classroom experience their social studies teacher says they will never forget.

"The learning that they get done in the next 72 hours will probably not be duplicated in their lifetime," said Vincent.

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