When Donald J. Trump becomes America’s 45th President, a group of Union High School students will be among 6,000 teenagers in the crowd, as part of the Wold Strides Inauguration program.
Led by history and economics teacher Dean Bostian, the students will leave Jan. 19, and return Jan. 23. In addition to attending the Inauguration and watching the Inaugural Parade, the students will spend three more days in Washington, D.C., touring many of the most famous landmarks.
The students have been raising funds, participant in concession stand sales and other activities, for the past year. They made their plans to go before the election.
“It’s an honor to be able to go on this trip,” says Sophie Hayungs. “Not only do I get to see President-Elect Trump get sworn into office, I get to go around D.C. and see all of the historical landmarks. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, a great way to end my senior year.”
Megan Hudson, another senior says: “I’m just really looking forward to seeing everything and being able to experience something that I will never get to again.”
While the students had a variety of opinions before the election, the trip will focus on the historical nature of the Inauguration, rather than who the new President is.
“There hasn’t been much talk about Trump vs. Hillary,” says Hayungs.
The Union students taking the trip have dubbed themselves “The Red, White, and Blue Crew,” says Mr. Bostian, who has taken in the past two inaugurations with groups of students, and is doing the same this year.
“A total of 25 students and three adults will leave Union High School on January 19, at 4 a.m., to make their way to the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids. By noon that day, the students will be in our nation’s capital, taking in the spectacle of the Presidential Inauguration and learning about our nation’s history,” Bostian says.
While the big even on Jan. 20 will get most of the nation’s attention, the trip means much more to the students.
“While the Inauguration plays a big part in us going,” Bostian says, “It is the idea about learning about the foundations of this great country and government of ours which I hope the students will remember most.”
Among the sites the students will see is Arlington National Cemetery (the eternal flame of John F. Kennedy, changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, etc.), United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ford’s Theater, the Smithsonian museums, and much more. They will even be attending an inauguration dance for all the students who are part of this program. It will be a whirlwind four day, three night stay.
However, as Bostian says, “This is history. No matter if you approve of the president-elect or not, we will see history and get a chance to better understand what has been sacrificed for our freedoms and learn about what it means to be an American. I hope this will inspire the students to come back again, when they have much more time to take everything in and think about what they saw.”
Union students have participated in World Strides trips to other locations in the past.