Twenty six juniors and seniors from University City High School will witness history in the making in January when they attend the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.
The tickets to the inauguration for the 26 students and eight staff members are courtesy of Sen. Claire McCaskill's office. The entire cost of the trip, estimated at near $30,000, is being covered through donations.
Donations to cover the costs of the airfare, hotel stay, meals and other expenses came from the following donors:
- Herff Jones
- Dynamic Vending
- Pi Pizzeria
- Leo and Kay Drey
- Anonymous Donors
The group will be in Washington D.C. from Jan. 18-21. Scheduled activities include a tour of the White House and visits to the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Washington Cathedral, Arlington Cemetery, Washington Monument and various memorials and museums.
In order to qualify for the trip, students had to have exemplary grades, attendance and behavior. Those that met the standards were then asked to write an 1,500 word essay describing the most memorable thing about the 2012 Election. A panel of teachers and administrators did a blind reading of the submitted essays to determine the 26 winners.
Government teacher April Pezzolla said the selection committee had a hard time narrowing the field to 26.
"We had some tough decisions," she said. "There were a lot of great essays."
The students will also write about the experience once they return home.
Principal Michael Maclin said the trip is an extension of his vision to create real world applications for what his students are learning every day in the classroom.
"This is a community and service minded group of kids at UCHS," he said.
Maclin, in his first year at UCHS, said he was blown away by the way the community and the School District stepped up when the tickets were offered to find a way to get students to the inauguration.
Linda Pritchard, student community service coordinator at UCHS, is coordinating a service project for the students once they return.
"We want to challenge them to be a part of the solution," she siad. "This is such a community service minded group of kids. We want to expand that vision so they know that they are the answer."
Students making the trip include:
Camaron Ballard, Grace Deitzler, Ethan Farber, Lafayette Gatewood, Taylor Gibson, Eliana Hudson, Alexis Jones, Courtney Lee, Madelin Mattli, Janae Miller, Ursula Monaghan, Abigail Mutrux, Daniel Politte, Samuel Polzin, Carl Sechrist, Jeffrey Standifer, Aun'Yiea Watson, Aubrey Williams and Da Sha Windham.
Marlynna Blumer, Deja Bowie, Alexis Kozhevsky, Molly Paterson, Rashad Scales, Reneise White and Darion Young.