Sunday, January 20, 2013

Trip of a Lifetime

This weekend is an important one for our nation. It is the 57th Presidential Inauguration and President Barack Obama, the 44th president of this great nation, is being sworn in for his second term as President of the United States of America. I'm sure that we will all be glued to our televisions, iPads, laptops and cellphones watching, listening and reading about this very important event. While you're doing all of that I would love for you to be on the look out for a few of our own University City kids. An amazing group of them have the distinct honor of being there in person.

Bright and early on the morning of Friday January 18, 2013 twenty six University City High School juniors and seniors boarded a plane bound for Washington D.C. with the help of Sen. Claire McCaskill and donations from state Rep. Rory Ellinger, Pi Pizzeria, Dynamic Vending and alumnus Herf Jones to name a few. The trip is estimated to cost approximately $30,000, but not to worry, Principal Michael Maclin assures us that, "not one dime is being spent by the school district."

In the beginning there were 188 students who met the criteria for this trip of a lifetime. While grades played a key role in the selection process the students also had to have a 93% attendance rate, no out-of-school suspensions and then write a 750 - 1500 word essay focusing on the most memorable moment from the 2012 presidential election and an issue that greatly impacted their lives.

The hard work and dedication of all these students was what made the difference. Their ability to put their education at the forefront of their lives opened up such an amazing opportunity for them and granted them the chance to take this once in a lifetime trip. The hard working twenty six students were met by CNN correspondent Don Lemon. He spent time with them over the weekend, interviewed a number of them and posted this amazing photo on his Instagram account...

The inauguration ceremony takes place Monday January 21, 2013, but their time in Washington D.C has already been filled with moments that will stay with them forever. They were highlighted in their very own CNN segment and spent the afternoon with Don Lemon. They were also given the opportunity to spend the weekend touring the Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the White House as well as visit Howard University and Georgetown University.

During the inauguration on Monday the group will be front and center of the ceremonial events sitting as the guests of Sen. Claire McCaskill. I can't even begin to imagine how truly excited, nervous and grateful every single student must be feeling this weekend.

I know that I join the rest of the University City residents in congratulating these students and look forward to watching the Inauguration Ceremony on television with the hopes of catching another glimpse of one of our own.

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