By Kara Kubarych
ContributorOn Jan. 20, 2009, I will watch as our next president is sworn into office. But I won’t watch on TV. I will stand together with millions of people on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. as President-Elect Obama becomes President Obama.
My journey to the Inauguration began way back in March, before the Democratic nominee had been decided, let alone the general election candidates. But even on that rainy spring day when I first learned about my school trip to the Inauguration, I jumped at the opportunity. I knew that no matter who won, it would be a monumental experience, especially for an 18-year-old voting for the first time. Eager to witness the drama of democracy alive and in living color, I signed up to participate in the excursion along with 40 of my fellow classmates.
Smithsonian studentsWe’ll participate in this amazing and unique opportunity through the Smithsonian Student Travel program, whose mission is to develop tours with maximum activity at a reasonable price, allowing a broad and diverse range of students from across the country to take part. In addition to attending the Inauguration, we’ll also immerse ourselves in American history and presidential legacies, as we explore and experience the museums, monuments and moments that define America.
During the trip we’ll also become budding historians through the Teens Across Times project, a historical documentation system we’ve designed and developed for the trip. Our goal is to create a digital database of interviews we conduct with fellow inaugurators. Each day we’ll talk to people on the street about what life was like when they were teenagers and how they came to be at the Inauguration of Barack Obama.
Coming togetherNot only will we have the chance to bring a sense of continuity to history, but we will experience the unifying process of coming together with millions of individuals in a common purpose as one. For one week - maybe just a day for some - we will set aside our day-to-day lives for the experience of a lifetime.
I invite you to join me in this experience, as I share my grand cross-country adventure. Each day I will post photos, videos, quotes and updates on the highlights of the day - from the emotions of the swearing-in ceremony to the chaos of the crowds. Check out the
Editor’s Notebook section at www.lajollalight.comthe week of Jan. 19, and travel with me through the journey of history in the making.
Kara Kubarych is a senior at La Jolla Country Day School. She lives in Del Mar.