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January 21, 2009 > Students attend inauguration

Students attend inauguration

Submitted By Rick La Plante

A group of James Logan High School students will leave for a week-long trip to Washington D.C., just in time to be in the nation*s capital for the inauguration of Barack Obama as President - where a Cesar Chavez Middle School student will sing.

Logan social science teachers Alida Lombardi and Jeff Ustick take students each year to Washington as part of "Close Up," a government/citizenship program for high school students nationwide. This year, Logan*s contingent of 24 students will be in Washington when the new president is sworn in next Tuesday.

"We probably won't get tickets, so we'll be out with the hordes on Capitol Mall," Ms. Lombardi said. "Obviously, though, just being there will be very special."

Among the groups and individuals scheduled to perform at the Inauguration is the San Francisco Boys Choir, including 12-year-old Michael Wang, a seventh-grader at Chavez. A straight-A student, he also attends Logan one period each day, for math.

"He's a very sweet, brilliant young man, who also sings opera," Chavez choir teacher Denise McGinnis said.

Logan's "Close Up" students, during their week in Washington, will tour historic sites and participate in educational activities with several hundred other students from across the country.

"The kids will even have their own Inaugural Ball on Tuesday night," Ms. Lombardi said.

With more than 1 million people expected for the Inauguration, "our usual schedule might change a bit," she said, "but on a typical 'Close Up' tour, Washington becomes the students' 'classroom' for a week."

On visits to sites such as the Supreme Court, the Smithsonian Institute and Arlington Cemetery, the students engage in discussions and participate in seminars. At the Vietnam, Korea and World War II memorials, they reflect on the United States' role internationally. At the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, they discuss the nature of leadership and national heroes.

"The day after the Inauguration, Wednesday, is supposed to be our Capitol Hill day. We'll meet with Congressman (Pete) Stark, sit in the Visitors Gallery if the Senate or House is in session, and maybe sit in on a committee hearing," Ms. Lombardi said.

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