The atmosphere on campus was grim and hopeless for many, staff and students included, on the morning of November 9, as President Elect Donald Trump took the stage for a victory speech. Now, one thing is certain as students prepare for the long awaited Presidential Inauguration trip with Ms. Martinez: It will be an election trip like no other.
The chatter filled each room the day after the election. Phrases such as “I’m scared” or “I’m moving to Canada”, but most notably “I wish I could get a refund” resounded through the hallways. For students who supported Hillary Clinton or a third party candidate, even being near a crowd of Trump supporters is enough to make them want to refund a trip costing almost $3000. When asked about her feelings toward the trip, Junior Kelsey Clark said, “I am really excited to be going, I think it will be a great experience.” She later added, “If it was dangerous for us to go I’m pretty sure they would cancel the trip.” With the trip fast approaching, it is too late for anyone who might be wary of the atmosphere to back out without losing the money that so many parents and students helped to fund raise. All is not lost. Ms. Martinez has arranged for any students who are interested to be allowed to participate in peaceful protest marches on the capital. Students may even have the opportunity to take part in the “Million Women March”, a protest scheduled to take place on January 21. The protest gets it’s name from two previous civil rights movement marches, where hundreds of thousands of women and men marched to fight for equal treatment. Having the option to march alongside the protesters is a solution that will provide students with a political voice and allow them to still have a positive experience in the tense atmosphere.
Students also have other less political events to look forward to, such as touring the capital and attending the traditional Inauguration Ball. Students will be able to interact with other high schools participating in the program, and will even have the opportunity to make their voices heard as a member of a debate team. This aspect of the trip may expose SLV students to the perspectives of people from more conservative parts of the U.S. Leaving the liberal bubble of the California and SLV high school demographic may come as a culture shock to many of the students as they discover the popularity of President Elect Donald Trump through experiences with other schools and people.
Overall, although students going on the trip in January seem to have a sense of unease, their excitement shines through.The suspenseful energy crosses over party lines even in our small county. The famously unpredictable President Elect is sure to do something to shock the nation on Inauguration day, but until then students and staff prepare for their own adventure to the capital.
By Savannah Zachau