Tucson Middle-Schoolers to Attend Presidential Inauguration

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A group of students from Dodge Middle School will be heading to Washington D.C. today to witness Obama’s Presidential Inauguration.

The group of 32 kids and 13 chaperones (teachers, parents and grandparents) will also visit numerous memorials and historical and political locales while at the capital city for five days.

Laura Shafer, who teaches at the middle school and is faculty adviser for the Dodge Travel Program, said she planned the trip through the Smithsonian Student Travel. The Smithsonian’s program planner working with Shafer told her Dodge was one of only two Arizona schools who signed up to attend inauguration through their program.

Rep. Ron Barber agreed to give the class a tour of the capitol building and gave them gallery passes, Shafer said.
“So we can actually watch the house in action you know debating and making laws,” Shafer said.

Shafer said she hopes her students will have a more personal connection with the government rather than thinking of it as just something they read about in their textbooks.

“I think our political system and our government seems very distant to them,” Shafer said. “My hope is that through this trip it makes our government and our country’s history very personal for them.”

The students are excited to attend a student inaugural ball on the night of the inauguration, Shafer said, their first formal dance. The kids will also visit the National Museum of American History and the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Students asked for tax credit donations around the community. Those who donated can get 100 percent of the money refunded through taxes. Each person had to pay $1,750, a price that includes everything from food to travel to lodging.

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