VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Ten Okaw Valley High School students witnessed a living history lesson while experiencing a trip of a lifetime.
The students experienced three days in Washington D.C. January 19-21. The trip included witnessing the inauguration of President Obama.
Principal Eric Bruder received an information package about a trip to Washington D.C. for high school students.
“I received the information packet last spring and opened it up to students this fall. It came down to ten students who were able to go,” Bruder said.
Those ten students – four seniors, two sophomores, and four freshmen - were Suzy West, Eldon Yeakel, Haley Carlson, Ian Tiarks, Lisa Stevens, Destinee Nave, Chris McManmie, Gretchen Macklin, Harle McCausland, and Robbie Stiner. None of them had been to Washington before. They joined three students from Meridian High School and 17 students Mattoon High School on the trip to the nation’s capital.
The reasons for wanting to go on the trip varied.
“I want to go into politics,” said McManmie. “The trip strengthened my desire to go into politics.”
“I wanted to go for the history,” said Stevens.
The thirty students and chaperones left after school Friday, January 18, and traveled all night by charter bus. The group spent time visiting many notable sites in the city Saturday and Sunday including Arlington Cemetery, World War II Memorial, Washington Monument, National Library of Congress, National Archives, Jefferson Memorial, Pentagon Mall, and the Air and Space Museum.
“We walked like everywhere,” said McCausland.
West added that they walked 23 miles in two days. The group also saw the President’s motorcade not only once, but twice, during their visit – once at Arlington Cemetery and once as they were getting out of dinner in the city.
The highlight of the trip was the President’s Inauguration where the group was among those at the Capital Building witnessing Vice President Joe Biden and President Barak Obama taking the oath of office.
“The city was crowded,” said Tiarks. “They say there were between 600,000 and 800,000 people there.”
Each student named something that personally impressed them from the trip.
Suzy West said she was impressed with how much marble was in the city.
Eldon Yeakle and Haley Carlson said they were impressed with how much history the city provided.
“We only saw a little bit of it. There’s so much to take in,” Yeakle said.
Ian Tiarks said he was impressed with the gold on the cases for the documents in the National Archives.
Lisa Stevens and Destinee Nave said they were impressed with the Library of Congress.
“There were statues everywhere and different quotes on the walls everywhere,” Stevens said.
“I love to read. The beautiful architecture was amazing to me,” Nave said.
“I was impressed with how much time and work was put into the Capitol and monuments. They really give an impression to the world,” said Chris McManmie.
Gretchen Macklin said she was impressed with the architecture and the monuments throughout the city.
“Every seemingly insignificant part of it (monuments) had meaning,” Macklin said.
Harle McCausland said she was generally impressed with the whole thing.
“Everything was cool. I’ve never been out of state before. I enjoyed seeing the monuments,” she said.
All students agreed that they would definitely like to revisit Washington D.C. at some point in their lives.