Bringing government to life |

Bringing government to life

Preston Utley/Vail DailyAshley Weaver, a social studies teacher at Eagle Valley High School, is taking a group of students to the presidential inauguration in Washington D.C.

GYPSUM, Colorado Every four years on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., the United States President takes the oath of office.Its always been a peaceful and celebratory transfer of power, and Ashley Weaver, a government teacher at Eagle Valley High School, wants to show that to her students.Weaver is taking a group of 21 students to Washington D.C. in January to watch John McCain or Barack Obama be sworn in as the next president. She took a similar trip at the last inauguration in 2005 and it was a chaotic, but awe-inspiring scene, she said.It makes the classroom come alive its government in action instead of government in a textbook, Weaver said.The president will be sworn in at noon on January 20. Traditionally, the oath of office is followed by a brassy chorus of Hail to the Chief, a 21-gun salute and an inaugural address given by the president. The president will also parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from the capitol to the White House.Many of the students on the trip will be first-time voters in November, and they see this as one more way of participating in the democratic process. Whoever it is up there swearing to defend the constitution, theyre just excited to know they made their voice known, that they had a part in choosing the president, said Kelsey Foster, 18.No matter who wins, it will be our nations leader up there, and you have to have some respect for him, Foster said.Alex Wolf says she knows that a presidential inauguration is not something everyone gets to experience first hand, and this one is a pretty historic occasion. Wolf wont be old enough to vote this November, but shell be an election judge and is looking for any way to get involved.Sure, I cant vote this year, but I still get to be a part of the process, Wolf said.Weaver says big elections years are exciting times for government class, and shes doing a lot of things to keep the students engaged.She begins all of her classes whatever hot topics are in the mornings papers. When news of the countrys economic meltdown started spreading, her classes examined the sound bites of what each of the presidential candidates had to say. How long the class will discuss these events depends on how good the news is.She also teaches a current events class, where they take a more in-depth look at the conflicts in Russia and Georgia and the current state of the Iraq war.At the end of this first trimester, right around election time, the students in her government classes will participate in mock elections where they choose a party, choose candidates, hold primaries, conventions, debates and elections even with an electoral college.Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955

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