HODGDON — It’s not every day that a group of high school students from northern Maine has a chance to see the President of the United States.
But that is precisely the case for seven students from Hodgdon High School’s politics class who, along with chaperones, will be traveling to Washington, D.C. Jan. 19-22 to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“A politics class was added this past summer,” said instructor Brian Fitzpatrick. “Guidance director Bernadette Willette and myself thought it would be important to have a class that could focus on the presidential election in the fall, and then we decided, ‘Why not go to the inauguration in January as part of the class?’ The school board approved both the class and the trip in July.”
Students participating in the trip are Chris Hudson, Chris Wallace, Lacey McQuarrie, McKensie Palmer, Valerie Estabrook, Jordan Wilson and Ethan Bartlett.
Plans for the trip started in August. Gretchen Fitzpatrick, who will serve as a co-chaperone, was tasked with finding deals on airline flights, hotel accommodations and the tour.
Along with the Inauguration festivities planned by Congress, the group will take a guided tour of the major D.C. sites and visit the National Zoo and Walter Reed Hospital.
“Senator-elect Angus King’s office has been very helpful in providing Inauguration tickets for the group,” Brian Fitzpatrick said.
Following the swearing-in ceremony and Inaugural Address, the group will view the Inaugural parade in the afternoon. Stops at Arlington National Cemetery, National Mall, Smithsonian Museum, National Zoo and United Nations are also in the plans.
“The kids have been working hard raising funds for the trip and have several fundraising events planned for the next few weeks including a raffle for an iPad mini, cake auctions, a bottle drive on Jan. 5 as well as Bingo at the Linneus Sno Sports club on Jan. 10,” Fitzpatrick said.
Many local businesses donated items for the fundraisers, while other individuals helped sponsor with financial donations.
“The gang is really excited about the trip,” he said. “On election night, the whole class came out to school and we watched the coverage in my room and filled in the map as returns came in. The trip will be the icing on the cake for students in the class.”
If anyone would like to donate cans and bottles to the trip, an account has been established at the Thirsty Dawg, or contact Fitzpatrick at 538-1907 to have your cans and bottles picked up on Jan. 5.