PDT Staff Writer
The Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama brought a lot of fanfare and a lot of people to Washington. Some of those in attendance included students from the Washington-Nile Local School District, thanks to Ohio's Second District Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.
Schmidt had been allotted two hundred tickets to be given away to district representatives. Her office received more than 3,000 request for tickets.
Schmidt's office awarded the tickets to two high schools in the second district: Kings High School in Warren County and Portsmouth West High School.
Kay Gibson, school guidance counselor, explained the school had been planning a trip to the inauguration since 2008. Around 40 students and advisers went on the trip.
“We received a flag from Jean Schmidt, a flag that she had arranged to have flown over the capitol during our visit,” Gibson said.
The flag that was given to the school by Schmidt will soon be in the school's lobby display case.
“She also sent us commemorative programs from the inauguration for each of the students,” Gibson said. “We are very honored to receive the flag and other gifts. We are excited she acknowledged our trip and the fact that she gave us the tickets in the first place.”
While in Washington the group went sightseeing. A number of the governmental buildings were closed for the Inauguration so they were only able to admire them from afar.
“What a wonderful opportunity you have so graciously afforded your students. I dare say it's teachers like you who lift up our education system, time after time. Thank you for giving your time so your students might be a part of history,” Schmidt said, in a letter sent to the school.
Since their return the group has shared pictures and stories with fellow classmates. The group also sent out thank-you letters to those who helped make their trip possible.
“We were about three football fields away from the capitol building. It seemed like every tall man in America chose to stand in front of us. It was not what you could see, it was just being there,” she said.
“The congresswoman takes a great deal of interest in making sure that whenever groups of individuals come to Washington to visit the capital that they have a wonderful experience. She wanted to make sure these kids, with this historic event, had a personal remembrance as well as a flag from the US Congress,” Bruce Pfaff, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt's spokesperson said.
Wayne Allen can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208.