For thirty years, the Close Up Foundation has welcomed high school students from across the United States for weeklong government studies and civic experiences. From January 14-21, Close Up is hosting 4,200 students and 450 educators for a special Inauguration program. Various students will be sharing their Inauguration thoughts and experiences during this month.
2001: Preparing To Visit
For at least one day a week, my Advanced Placement Government class discusses current events and those days are definitely the best. Current event days seem to be especially interesting this year due to the election and became even more so with the recounts, delays, and eventual selection of the president. The fact that some of the students, myself included, will be going to the inauguration with Close Up enhanced these talks even further. We each hoped to see our favorite candidate be sworn into office on January 20, 2001, but we are excited about the event whether George W. Bush was our choice or not.
Now that the election is over, class conversation topics have changed to other current events, but our minds are still on the special day to come. Even though it is just a few days away, January 20 seems still weeks ahead, or maybe I wish I still had weeks to complete everything that needs to be done. In the next few days, the other students and I need to prepare for and take final exams, send any last minute scholarship or college forms, and of course we need to pack. What exactly does one take to an inaugural ball? A tux, or maybe just a suit? But I am not complaining; this is one experience I would not miss.
On Sunday, January 14, 28 students and three teachers from my school will travel to Washington D.C. I expect this trip to be one of the most memorable events of my high school career. Many things excite me about our trip to the capital. The obvious would be the inauguration itself and the ball afterward, but other things interest me as well. I hope to make many new friends from all over the nation. I will enjoy meeting with members of Congress and expect that listening to other students' ideas on political topics and sharing some of my own will be an enlightening experience. It will also be interesting to see how the location of our homes affects our attitudes on certain political issues.
Our seven days in Washington D.C. will be a lesson in government and of things to come in U.S. politics. We will witness the beginning of a new and yet continuing Bush legacy. Only time will tell what the next four years will bring but we can make some wishes. High on my worry list is the economy and I think Bush will have to deal with it in his first few months as president. I also hope that Bush will be able to help orchestrate an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. One area where Bush may go against some of my opinions is in the way he will deal with the environment, but this may be a misconception. Whatever happens in the next four years, my classmates and I will be able to say that we were there when it all began!
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