Students Attend Presidential Inauguration
Bullhead City, AZ | Submitted by Cindy McClurg
Sevens students from Bullhead City Junior High School attended the 2013 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. The program was designed and initiated by Mike McClurg, Bullhead City Junior High School Social Studies Teacher and Cindy McClurg, Fox Creek Junior High Gear Up Coordinator.
The goals were to improve the students’ writing skills, sharpen their public speaking skills and experience our government at work rather than watch passively on television.
Students were given the opportunity to submit an essay following APA guidelines about the United States Constitution. They were to include information about an amendment and reasons why it was most relevant to them. Students were chosen by a group of community leaders who reviewed the essays and chose up to the top ten who met the criterion. The essays were presented to the panel with no identifying information to prevent favoritism.
The seven students were asked to pay a $100 deposit fee and engage in fundraising activities. This fee was reduced for one family and waved for another due to the families’ financial concerns. The chaperones each paid $500 towards their trip.
The community rallied around these students providing cameras, sleeping bags, snacks, airplane survival kits (small backpacks with a blanket and snacks), T-shirts and $10,000. Community leaders, politicians, city employees, service clubs, local businesses, nonprofits, newspaper, radio stations and private citizens worked together to make this project a reality.
The students practiced public speaking each time they addressed a group to ask for their support. They continued to practice writing skills each evening while on the trip, when they sent their required blog to the local newspaper. The newspaper published a daily segment outlining the adventures in DC which included some of the students’ blogs.
The students spent five days in our nation’s capital. They chose to visit the Capitol, Library of Congress, Botanical Gardens, Natural History Museum, The Mall with all its monuments, The Holocaust Museum and Arlington Cemetery; tomb of the unknown soldier, eternal flame and changing of the guard. But most of all, they attended the Presidential Inauguration. Mr. McClurg commented that being at the Inauguration was similar to being at a professional baseball game; you experience the excitement of the crowd while history is being made rather than watching it passively on television.
These students have demonstrated the ability to compete with their peers in professional writing and public speaking.
Asking students to examine how the constitution related to them and assess a group of protesters messages gave these students opportunities for critical thinking. Visiting the nation’s capital gave students a firsthand view of government at work.
Bullhead City is a generous community that supports youth and educational opportunities. This project was supported by politicians, community leaders, city employees, service clubs, local businesses, nonprofits, newspaper, radio stations and private citizens. These people gave their time, their support and their money. The funds not spent are being used to plan for the next group of students attending the next Presidential Inauguration.