January 18, 2009

Locals at Inauguration: Either way, history would be made

Johansen High School senior Brooke Blythe is a staunch Republican and proud of it.

Nevertheless, the Arizona State University-bound student is more than looking forward to attending the inauguration with her classmates.

“I’d rather see John McCain being inaugurated,” she said. “Either way, I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life. I’m very, very excited.”

Blythe is one of 14 students — and the only Republican in the lot — who answered the call of her AP history teacher, Brent Bohlender, who thought it would be cool to go back.

It was around October 2007 when Bohlender suggested to his class that it go. The candidate pool was still shaping up, but Bohlender felt it was likely that history would be made.

“You were either going to have the oldest guy, an African-American or a woman,” he said. “Either way, it was going to be historic.”

After some of his students committed, it was up to Bohlender to find a good tour. He saw that the Smithsonian Institute had tour packages for students, and jumped at the chance.

The group, which like the rest of the school will just have finished up finals, will take a red eye flight out Sunday night, arriving early Monday. They’ll be staying outside of Washington D.C., and come in on a bus with students from Spokane, Wash.

Besides the museum tours, seeing the sites, the inauguration and the parade after, there will be an inaugural ball to attend with other high school students taking the tour.

“The girls are looking forward to that,” said Johansen senior Maggie Sniffen, who just got accepted to San Diego State University. “It will be nice to meet a lot of new people.”

Sniffen said she liked Hillary Clinton because she showed “poise as a woman and stood up for herself and her family.” She also liked Barack Obama because the fact that he came from such a different background was “refreshing.”

“He seemed like someone people could trust,” she said. “I felt I could trust him.”

The group doesn’t have any of the coveted tickets that could guarantee them to get up-close-and-personal, which is no problem for Sniffen.

“Just finding a curb somewhere and buying one of those (periscopes) so I can see something,” she said. “I want to be able to listen to what (Obama) is saying. It’s going to change the world. It’s going to be really amazing.”

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