Austin students travel to Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalists DAVID GARDNER & DEREK RASOR

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 20, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 21 at 8:45 AM

AUSTIN -- It is a monumental, historic moment when the President of the United States of America takes an oath in front of the people he is vowing to serve. And this year, when President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term, a group of high school students from Austin will be in the crowd.

"I'm really excited," said Hannah Beth Kelfer Taylor. 

Kelfer Taylor is one of the 10 Not Your Ordinary School (NYOS) seniors attending. Her history teacher Melissa Ballentine organized the trip.

"I received an email from EF Tours about the trip and sent it own to my administration and asked if this would be a possibility and they said absolutely," said Ballentine. 

The charter school's 24 seniors were invited to attend. The trip cost was $1,600 per student, money each student would have to come up with. Ten of them got the "ok" from their parents. 

"I'm just really excited that they have taken this opportunity to do this because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. They might make it back to DC at some point, but will they actually make it to the inauguration? That's not something everyone can say," Ballentine said.

"I knew it was going to be an amazing experience," said NYOS student Jeffry Vaughan. "I'm definitely looking forward to actually seeing the inauguration and seeing the big ceremony, just because nobody gets to do that."

This will be Vaughan's first time going to the nation's capitol.

"This is a big thing. First time on an airplane it's going to be, probably crazy," he said. 

For Kelfer Taylor, the trip is a chance to see that every vote really does count.

"I turned 18 at the very beginning of October and I registered the next day and this was my first election to vote in," she said, "I voted for President Obama."

The students arrived in D.C. Saturday. They have been touring the city, visiting historical markers as they wait for inauguration day. And Monday morning, as they watch the country's leader be sworn in, Ballentine hopes it enlightens them.

"That they see this as this fresh point to where we can move forward, to where they will want to participate in local, state, national elections in the future," Ballentine added.

Igniting a spark to help shape the nation's future, as they take part in its present history.

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