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Inauguration memories for a lifetime

After a whirlwind week in the nation's capitol, three Woodbury High School students who attended the inauguration of the 44th president Barack Obama are back in Minnesota with memories for a lifetime.

WHS sophomore Kiera Eaton, freshman Ben Gotz and junior Heather Mohr made the trip to the historic ceremony.

"There was a lot of big stuff that we did," Eaton said. "It was all just 'Wow!' How amazing it was, I can't articulate that."

These three students witnessed the swearing in of the first black president, attended an inaugural ball with Daughtry, and heard inspiring speeches from former vice-president Al Gore, Gen. Colin Powell and South African peace activist Rev. Desmond Tutu.

"The whole experience was a lot better than I expected," Gotz said. "Just being a part of that history was awesome."

Gotz and Eaton agreed that, aside from Obama's inaugural address, Tutu was their favorite speaker they heard.

"He was really funny," Gotz said. "He really communicated to the teenage group."

Mohr could not be reached for comment on the trip.

As amazing as the trip was, the entire trip didn't go off without a hitch, the group were victims of malfunctioning buses and traffic so some students had to miss several planned events.

"With the millions of people around, It's just inevitable that traffic is going to be kind of a mess," Cherie Eaton, Kiera's mother, said.

Gotz and Eaton both said watching Obama be sworn in and hearing his inaugural address was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

"It was just very inspiring," Eaton said.

The only disappointment was that they weren't able to see the swearing in that well because of the millions of people that surrounded them.

"The crowds were terrifying," Eaton said. "I had to watch it from the jumbotron since I couldn't see a thing."

Eaton had her chance to see Obama up close when she caught a glimpse of him as he walked past at the inaugural ball.

"I saw him for about five seconds when he was passing by," she said. "That was really cool."

Both students agree that the ball was the high-light of their trip, and not just because Eaton was lucky enough to be front row for Daughtry and walked away with a souvenir guitar pick.

"It was all just awesome," Eaton said. "I have awesomely epic pictures."

Eaton and Gotz, Mohr could not be reached, said being able to be a part of the inauguration was a phenomenal experience that they won't soon forget.

"I'm never going to forget it," Eaton said. "Just being part of that history is amazing."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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