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Skyline students attend President Obama's inauguration
Like most high-school seniors, Colton Stapper has read his share of United States history books over the years.
But on Jan. 21, the Skyline student and 23 of his classmates gained a different perspective of the nation's history — they got to participate in it.
"It gave me this sense of actual patriotism that a lot of us don't feel when we're here at school," said Stapper, who attended the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. "To see it in the spirit of the moment, that was awesome."
The trip was the work of Skyline civics teacher Rob Rosemont, who for the second straight presidential cycle, brought a group of students to the nation's capital.
"Four years ago, I took 35 students," Rosemont said. "We had such a great time, I vowed after that trip that I would do it again."
The four-day trip involved three days of sight-seeing, capped by the inauguration on Monday.
The experience netted many memorable moments for the group of 20 girls and four boys, who ranged from freshmen to seniors. They went to sites ranging from the Capital building to the Holocaust Museum.
"One of the best places we visited was Arlington Cemetery because my family has deep connections in the military and it's really a lot to take in and see all those graves and know so many people fought for our country," said senior Rachel Carnes.
Freshman Hannah-Rae Ernst concured.
"It was interesting to see all the care the government takes into making the memorials," she said.
Of course, the ultimate payoff came on Monday when the group got to watch Barack Obama take his presidential oath. Using tickets donated by Congressman Dave Reichert's office, the students were placed in the first wave 250,000 people. There were more than 800,000 people total in attendance.
"We were actually, as far as the commoners go, in the front of that section," Rosemont said.
Junior Dorie Dalzell said her and a couple of others tried to inch their way closer to the stage, before eventually realizing the crowd was just too thick.
"We just took as many pictures as we could from where we were at, and it was like, he's a little dot, but that's OK," she said.
Stapper said one of his highlights was hearing Beyonce sing the National Anthem — lip synching and all. But there is one image he will never forget.
"The cool part was looking behind us and you could see there was people all the way to the Washington Monument and their flags were waving," he said. "It was just like this sea of people."
Sophomore Sarah Rosemont admitted the group was tired after taking a red-eye flight to the East Coast and pushing forward with three straight 12-hour days of sight-seeing. But there was nothing — not even being forced to park miles from the event — that would have stopped them.
"I can honestly say, there are very few things I would get up at 4:30 in the morning and walk three-and-a-half miles for, but the Presidential Inauguration was worth it," she said.
"It was so amazing to see, it was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity," she said.