Inaugural fun from D.C. …

While millions of Americans will spend Jan. 20 watching the swearing-in of the nation’s 43rd president, a group of local high school students and teachers will be spending the day in Washington, D.C., witnessing the event first-hand.

Twenty-eight students and faculty from Davis High School and Natomas High School will be participating in a government studies excursion from Jan. 14-21. The program provides the opportunity to attend the Presidential Inauguration, including the swearing-in on the National Mall and the Inauguration Parade.

“I always wanted to go to Washington, D.C.,” said Erica Utigard, a student at Natomas High School. “I’m very interested in politics and this seems like a great opportunity.”

The Sacramento area locals will meet up with 4,600 other participants through a nationwide program run by Close Up, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate individuals in the democratic process.

The students will be given the opportunity to attend a variety of events, including daily debates, discussions and seminars on Capitol Hill. They’ll also meet government officials, political figures, lobbyists and journalists, as well as having a chance to see notable sites.

“I’m looking forward to the inauguration itself the most, but I’m also excited to see Georgetown University,” Utigard said.

Utigard said that she was glad that Bush won because, “I didn’t like the way Gore presented himself.” However, she noted that the majority of her classmates were Al Gore supporters.