A group of Havre High School students said Tuesday they enjoyed, and learned a lot from, their trip to Washington to see the inauguration of Barack Obama — but not enough to go into politics themselves.
Havre High government teacher John Ita brought some of the students who traveled with him to Washington, and some of his government students who could not make the trip, to the Hill County Democrats monthly meeting at the Havre Eagles Club.
When Hill County Commission Chair Mike Wendland asked if they enjoyed the visit enough to go back on their own, the group told him they would.
But when Havre City Council Alderwoman Bonnie Parenteau asked if they enjoyed it enough to go into politics, she received a resounding “No.”
Ita thanked everyone who helped put the trip together, adding that the support from the Havre Public Schools administration was strong, including from first-year Havre High School Principal Craig Mueller, who attended Tuesday’s meeting.
The students showed a 20-minute computer slide show made by student Hope Proctor, who went to the inauguration, with photos and video from the trip, including audio of Obama’s inauguration speech and the dialogue during the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
Other students who went on the trip who attended Tuesday’s meeting were Madison Hanson, Bryant O’Leary, Samantha French, Josiah Stocker and Devin Jo DiSalvo.
Students who went to D.C. but couldn’t attend the Democrats meeting Tuesday were Alicia O’Leary, Seth Doney, Tiara Doney, Martha Stocker, Ruth Stocker, Keefer Sands, Kodi Sands and Nebula Rui.
Government students Roxanna Jensen, Gilbert Bara, Katie Breum, Kalynne Hammond, Robert Mooney, Shelbi Brough and Alexia Olson also went to the meeting.
Ita told the group that the trip went well — not as smoothly as when he took students to Obama’s first inauguration, but the students took some problems with meeting schedules and delays in stride.
“They handled it great,” Ita said.
The students said some of the most memorable moments for them included visiting Arlington and seeing the changing of the guard, visiting the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute, as well as seeing many memorials.
“That really got to me,” Ita added about the memorials the group visited.
The slide and video show depicted numerous stops the group took, ranging from waiting in the airport on the way to Washington, and on the way back, to a photograph of students by a statue of Jeannette Rankin, who represented Montana as the first woman member of Congress, and other memorials including the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court and the tour of Arlington Cemetery.
“Too many markers to count,” a caption read during the section showing the cemetery.
One person at the meeting seemed to wish she could have gone, too.
“Why didn’t you do this when I was in high school?” asked 2007 Havre High graduate Shari Nelson.