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LI teens in D.C.: Experiencing the inauguration up close

- See the latest inauguration photos

10:59 p.m.: Jamming in a ball Rebecca Tobias, 12th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending with family:

Just arrived at the Mid-Atlantic ball, and it is in full swing. The Grateful Dead are here, along with DJ Cassidy. Seems like a good time.

7:41 p.m.: The people I met made the day memorable: Joe Barrett, 12th grade, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, attending with family:

The greatest part of the whole experience was the people that I encountered. My chance meetings with a large North Carolina family, who had never before been to DC, an elderly woman traveling with only a tambourine as company, a Midshipman, a young British woman, and an anonymous African-American man who gave my crying mother a tissue with pride made my day and gave the experience a new level of meaning.

7:19 p.m.: Student scores inaugural ball ticket: Jamie Sweeney, 12th grade, The Wheatley School, East Williston, attending with family:

I could not get into the Inauguration - they shut the gates on us. But I just got a ticket to the Inaugural Ball. Entrance is definite this time!

6:28 p.m.: On the parade in the Capitol: Tierre Hobson, 10th grade, Amityville High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

There's so many bands. It's freezing outside.

5:28 p.m.: Exhilaration in D.C.: Aryanna Whitten, Newfield High School, attending with classmates:

This is Aryanna E. Whitten and I am from Newfield High School. I was able to attend the inauguration and it was an exhilarating experience! There was so much enthusaim and excitement in the air. We were able to see celebrities and the best part was when we watched Obama arrive. I was taken back for a moment because I couldn't believe that this is really happening. The best part was when he compared the spirit of America to those of other nations. By doing this I believe he sent a message out to all other nations across the world about who America is and what he is about.

5:23 p.m.: One student's day: "An experience I wouldn't trade for the world": Natasha Phidd, 12th grade, Baldwin High School, attending through the People to People Leadership Inauguration Program:

Waking up at 4 a.m. to go out in freezing glacier-like weather only to be stuck behind about 800,000 early birds -- this was the harbinger to one hell of an inauguration that I most definitely will never forget.

After getting off our buses to walk to an area close to the capital, it really hit home that in seven hours every American citizen's life would change, clearly in hopes for a better tomorrow. At first, ignoring the frigid atmosphere loitering over all of us wasn't too much of a problem -- that was until it got colder. Yeah, that was pretty hard to ignore considering it wasn't even dawn yet and the people to the left and right of me were shivering more than the naked NYC cowboy in Antarctica.

Time gradually began to pass, minute by minute, hour by hour, with all of us sticking it out to see our new commander in chief. As people moved around to either get hot drinks or go to the nearby port-a-potties, my group and I made gradual progress in getting closer to the giant screen that would show the whole ceremony, also keeping a great view of the Capitol in plain sight.

Dawn finally breaks, light from the sun finally comes through, yet it is still ridiculously cold! OK, I'm from New York, so logically one would think that I'd be used to cold weather during January, right? WRONG. I was numb, my joints were hurting, and I couldn't control the fact that my legs were shaking a lot. BRRRRRRRRRR. But even through all of this, nobody punked out and left; everyone -- literally -- stayed standing or sitting to see what would be the most inspirational inauguration ceremony I've ever seen, and probably, along with a select few others, one of the most inspirational inauguration ceremonies in our nation's history.

Moving things along, the ceremony began with a recap of the concert from a few days before on the big screens. Personally I think this was done to stray the masses' minds away from the bitter cold. After all we'd been there for seven hours. Anyway, we finally got to see Sen. Joe Biden get sworn in as our new vice president, and not long afterward we got to see the event that everyone had been anxiously waiting for: the swearing-in of Barack Obama.

After accepting the oath into office, Mr. Obama gave an inspirational and hope-inducing speech that really cemented the themes of Change, Promise, and Pride. Actually being there to experience this momentous event live was such an amazing experience that I will treasure forever. I feel that with this election our entire country (for the most part) decided that it was time to institute a change.

I guess all of the excitement from the inauguration carried over into the streets because the roads were PACKED with thousands of people trying to leave. It took our group almost two hours to walk five blocks to get to our bus, due partially to the fact that there was a really large crowd.

Even with all of the events surrounding the inauguration of our 44th president, this was an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.

4:57 p.m.: A witness to history: Jessica Rivetz, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

The streets of D.C. are completely chaotic! We're all smooshed together without room to breathe & I almost had my foot run over by a police car. Today I can honestly say I am proud to be an American. This whole inauguration, although an enormous mob scene, was unreal. I'm incredulous that I just witnessed history and that I'll be able to tell my kids that I was actually there and saw live Obama be inaugurated.

4:52 p.m.: A day to remember: Katya Barrett, 9th grade, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, attending with family:

The inauguration was absolutely amazing. Obama's speech was eloquent and inspiring and everyone in the crowd loved it. The man who delivered the benediction at the end was great, the man's rhyming was fantastic. The crowds were crazy, from near the Capitol you could see the masses of people stretching back as far as you could see.

4:37 p.m.: Watching Obama's parade: Joe Barrett, 12th grade, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, attending with family:

Watching the parade from a balcony above Pennsylvania Avenue was an amazing experience. The crowd not only covered the sidewalks along the street, but also filled the windows and roofs of the buildings on the route. There was incredible excitement as Obama's motorcade passed and the crowds on the street, not content to let him pass, chased the car cheering loudly until the barricades prevented them from going further.

4:34 p.m.: One student recaps his Inauguration Day: Geoff Rostrup, 12th grade, East Islip High School, attending through the People to People Leadership Inauguration Program:

We arrived at the Mall at 6:15 and large groups were already waiting for the day's excitement. Despite the sub-freezing temperatures, the crowd was energetic. Unbelievable numbers of people were singing lean on me, hakunah matata and even the ignition remix.

3:59 p.m.: Witness to history in D.C. Matthew Clareen, 10th grade, Islip High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

What an amazing experience! Too many people in one city. Good God, I witnessed history. This is amazing. Wonderful expeierece to see Obama indurated. I cried with happiness and hope.

3:54 p.m.: A sense of history in Washington, D.C.: Rebecca Tobias, 12th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending with family:

Finally got back to the house we are staying at. I am still in awe [and a little frozen] from this afternoon. The thing that sticks out in my mind most is the way everyone helped each other out. When it came time to leave, everyone worked together to make sure it was not as bad to get out as it was to get in. Everyone in the streets appreciated that we had all been a part of history, and there was a certain bond between us. The other moment that seemed to be a crowd pleaser, and definitely stood out in my mind, was when President Bush took off in his helicopter. I was standing on the ground right near the takeoff area, and as soon as the plane was in the air, everyone started waving. Can you imagine what that looked like to him? Well, nap time before the ball. Hope everyone enjoyed!

3:17 p.m.: More on Obama's speech: Jonathan Stuart, 12th grade, Center Moriches High School, attending through the Presidential Classroom program:

A new birth of freedom was indeed the theme of the inauguration. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself.

2:45 p.m.: Babylon student recaps Inauguration Day: Michelle Janaszak, Babylon High School, attending with classmates:

The day is coming to an end, we have made it back to the bus after much confusion and pushing through very large masses of people also hoping to return home. Washington, D.C., is still filled with flag-carrying Americans who have come to watch an inauguration that will change the lives of many. It is only the early afternoon, but this extremely eventful day has drained our group, and we are now heading toward a Pizza Hut buffet. I'm sure that I can speak for everyone from Babylon High School when I say that this is a day that I will never forget, and I hope that there will be more historic events in my lifetime that will have as much positive effect on people as the election of Obama has.

2:00 p.m.: Students reflects on Obama's speech: Adrian Vatchinsky, 11th grade, Bay Shore High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

Obama stands proud in front of the millions of viewers in Washington, D.C., and the countless onlookers around the world. The people of the Earth are looking as Obama delivers his inaugural speech. Pointing out the numerous changes which will come, and highlighting that it will not be immediate but sure to come. Obama also talked about bringing the U.S. out of its oil dependency, aiming for a brighter and clearer future.

At the conclusion, the citizens of the U.S. all stood still across the country in honor for their newly elected leader.

Harrison Remler, 11th grade, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, attending through the Congressional Youth Leadership Conference:

Incredible to see the country and people of all races come together and embrace Obama.

1:47 p.m.: Optimism for Obama: Kerri MacAlpine, 11th grade, Eastport-South Manor Junior Senior High School, attending through the Congressional Youth Leadership Council:

I am among the biggest crowd of people I have ever seen in my life. If Obama does even half of the things he said in his speech, this country will significantly increase in greatness.

Tierre Hobson, 10th grade, Amityville High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

That was solo amazing . . . so many people screaming "yes we can." You can tell that the people were ready to get rid of Bush. I had to stand outside for five long, freezing hours. It was all worth the firsthand experience. To see the crowd's reaction to all the former presidents was kind of funny. Also listening to Barack Obama's first speech was priceless. Having first looks at his face waiting to become president was amazing.

1:38 p.m.: Washington D.C. a mob scene: Rebecca Tobias, 12th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending with family:

Well, Barack Obama is now president of the United States. It was awesome to be there when it happened. The city is a mob scene now. It's impossible to get onto the Metro, so I'm at a food court near Union Station, and the mood is quite celebratory.

Michael Byrne, 11th grade, Mineola High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

The speech was very well-written and inspirational. On a side note, trying to get out is harder than trying to get in.

1:25 p.m.: Sisters proud to witness inauguration: Blessing Branch, 11th grade, and Esther Branch, 9th grade, Baldwin High School, attending after working for the Obama campaign:

This was an amazing experience. President Obama's speech showed how every American would have to work together for change to come. We are thrilled and proud to have been here to witness Obama's and Biden's inauguration! It was really cold in D.C. But, to have been a part of this experience was worth it!

When we arrived in Washington D.C. hundreds of thousands of people were trying to find their way to their ticket area. But, we ended up finding an excellent area. It was right in front of the capital building, near the Smithsonian Muesum. The first lady and children looked beautiful!

1:20 p.m.: A student's morning in Washington: Eva Grenci, 7th grade, Montauk School, attending through the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

I got off the bus this morning and we went into the science museum, and we had hot chocolate and all I could see was faces of people I didn't know. They called our group Thomas Jefferson and we all got our partners and we linked arms and we all linked arms walking through the crowd and all I could see on the ground was ripped up newspaper and pictures of Obama and all these slogans and everything and a bunch of people selling Obama shirts. We were walking through the crowds and we were just getting to the mall and that's when I started getting really excited . . . I was screaming, "I'm so excited, I'm so excited," and then we kept walking and everybody was shoving each other and pushing. I took a deep breath and looked around and I noticed how everybody can come together even though we don't know each other. We got to one point where they were telling us we couldn't go any further and it was somewhere where we couldn't see anything and the nearest speakers were really far away and the TV was in the distance. I kind of felt like I was going to cry . . . We tried to move a little further. Some of the adults were, like, let the kids through, let the kids through, everybody was still in linked arms. There were 18 of us . . . I dropped my scarf and my handwarmers so I went down to go pick them up and as I went down everything got quieter and quieter. And as I came up I heard Obama speaking. I just smiled, because I could hear him. They had turned the speakers up. Me and my friends smiled because we were just happy . . . It was amazing. At one point, we were all screaming, "Yes we can, yes we can," repeatedly. He conveyed everything, that everyone's equal in their own way, and that actually it can happen to have an African-American president.

1:00 p.m.: Bush helicopter departs: Lauren Jayson, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, attending with family:

Just watched Bush fly away in his helicopter and the crowd went crazy!

12:51 p.m.: "The most amazing experience ever!": Lauren Jayson, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, attending with family:

Everything just ended, and everyone is so excited! It is the most amazing experience ever! I have never seen so many people in one place, all so excited about the same thing! To look out and see a sea of happy and hopeful people that never ends is amazing!

12:47 p.m.: Some students didn't get there in time: Justin Gonzalez, 7th grade, Westbury Middle School, attending through the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

I didn't get to go to the inauguration. My group quit and we are going to the buses. My group was only 1,000 feet away when they decided to bring us to a room to watch it on a television.

12:37 p.m.: Students digest Obama's speech: Michelle Janaszak, Babylon High School, attending with classmates:

I am now witnessing a Presidential speech that will forever be remembered in America's history. It's one thing to see Obama on TV, or following his campaign, but being here so close and hearing his incredible speech is truly a once in a lifetime event.

12:15 p.m.: Obama takes the oath: Gabrielle Rodrigo, 7th grade, Westbury Middle School, attending through the National Young Scholars Program:

Yay! It happened! I'm solo glad I'm here!

12:02 p.m.: Obama introduced: Michelle Janaszak, Babylon High School, attending with classmates:

The "O-bam-a" chants have started to fill the crowds, but when President Bush was announced, people were very disrespectful. I think that booing a president is just not right, no matter what your beliefs are. Obama has finally officially been introduced, and cheers have made the huge crowd seem like one. The prayer that the Pastor presented was truly beautiful, and very touching. His thoughts were ones of great importance and his words were very meaningful. Aretha Franklin just sang, and there is now a small orchestral group performing. In between the two performances, Vice President Biden was sworn in, which was a lot shorter than I thought it would be.

Rebecca Tobias, 12th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending with family:

We have made it inside the gate. I have never seen so many people with their attention focused in one place before. It is unbelievable to know that soon I'll be witnessing the inauguration of our 44th president.

11:47 a.m.: Obama takes the stage: Gabrielle Rodrigo, 7th grade, Westbury Middle School, attending through the National Young Scholars Program:

0MG! I see 0bama! This is solo cool! I'm soo excited!

11:38 a.m.: Unity in D.C.: Lauren Jayson, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, attending with family

So many different types of people all coming together and uniting all because of Obama! It's amazing!

11:35 a.m.: No time to be booing: Jessica Rivetz, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

I'm appalled that people are booing President George W. Bush as he's walking out!

11:32 a.m.: Excitement building at the inauguration: Michelle Janaszak, Babylon High School, attending with classmates:

There is such an incredible amount of people here, we're so squished and the jumbotron is pretty hard to see. But being in the middle of this huge crowd when we hear names being announced and cheering in unison is a great feeling. I can't get over how all of these amazing people and past presidents are so close to us, yet so far away, since there are millions of people in between me and the Capitol building. Even being this close to them is absolutely incredible. I think Biden is going to be sworn in soon, and Obama soon after. Within about an hour, we will have a new president of the United States. The soon-to-be first family was just shown on the screen, and everybody went crazy.

11:26 a.m.: "I don't think we can get in": Jamie Sweeney, 12th grade, The Wheatley School, East Williston, attending with family:

The line is turning to a mob. Everyone cut forward and they are now booing. It's really bad over here. We were on a somewhat orderly line for a while but it just dissolved. People started cutting in and some people got knocked over. Everybody just marched forward from behind. We were on a very long line to get to the blue gate, now it's just kind of dissolving and people are walking away in every direction. I don't think we can get in. We can see the sign for the gate but can't tell whether it's open.

11:20 a.m.: Student near front row to history: Lauren Jayson, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, attending with family:

We woke up at 5 and headed over here around 5:45 and it was pretty crazy. There are tons of people everywhere. It's pretty hectic down here. We walked from 6 o'clock to about 20 minutes ago to get to our seats. Everyone is very spirited and it's just amazing. I'm actually in the yellow section, right upfront, right close to the front. We went through tons of security and stuff. We're right behind all the news people and stuff. We can see it clearly. There's people all the way to and probably past the Washington Monument, and everything is just really amazing. Everybody is really into it. There's people everywhere.

11:06 a.m.: Two hours to reach security: Joe Barrett, 12th grade, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, attending with family:

We walked through the 3rd Street tunnel, which was packed with people, to cross the Mall. The size of the crowd caused it to take 2 hours to reach security. However, once we reached security we were able to quickly get inside and out into the center of the mall.

11:03 a.m.: High hopes in Washington, D.C.: Jamal Walcott, teacher, Longwood High School, chaperoning students:

This is an incredible experience. Students are in high hopes. Being in an atmosphere with millions of others, united with the feelings of hope and change is life changing.

10:56 a.m.: Despair among some with tickets in D.C.: Jamie Sweeney, 12th grade, The Wheatley School, East Williston, attending with family:

I don't think I will be getting in. I have a ticket for the blue section, but the crowd is at a standstill.

10:45 a.m.: Anticipation growing: Victoria Brown, 12th grade, Newfield High School, attending with classmates:

It's hard to tell what people here are looking forward to more: today or the day in the future when we get to say I was there.

10:38 a.m.: Body heat on the mall: Jamie Sweeney, 12th grade, The Wheatley School, East Williston, attending with family:

The only upside to this unbearable crowd is the body heat surely being emitted in this frigid climate.

Jessica Rivetz, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

The crowd, consisting of soooo many young people & families with young children, are swaying to the amazing Marine Corps band.

Justin Gonzalez, 7th grade, Westbury Middle School, attending through the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

There are so many soldiers. I have just spotted a soldier standing guard at the top of a building.

10:27 a.m.: On line at the Third Street tunnel: Rebecca Tobias, 12th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending with family:

Hey, Newsday. I'm writing to you from the Third Street tunnel. I got here at six this morning, and have been waiting since. There are two particularly interesting things I've noticed about this line. The first is the morale on the line. The other surprising aspect of the line is the perseverance. Even though it's an incredibly long line (it stretches literally as far as the eye can see), surprisingly few people have given up. That's all for now. My hands are freezing without my gloves.

10:16 a.m.: News trucks and charter buses abound in D.C.: Michael Byrne, 11th grade, Mineola High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

The number of news vans is not surprising but still quite a sight see. The amount of charter buses is crazy.

10:11 a.m.: Jam-packed on Washington Avenue in D.C.: Jamie Sweeney, 12th grade, The Wheatley School, East Williston, attending with family:

I've been on Washington Avenue for an hour -- the crowd is very unorganized. No one has moved at all for 20 minutes.

10:05: Singing and dancing in the streets in D.C.: Jessica Rivetz, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

There is no room anywhere. People are lying on the ground on their blankets & it's so tight & it's hard to see anything, but wow! Millions of people are singing & dancing throughout the streets here, taking pictures & videos of just how huge these crowds are!

9:51 a.m.: "There's people everywhere" on the Mall: Jake Lutz, 12th grade, Newfield High School, attending with classmates:

We got up really early this morning so we could get out here. We expected a lot of people but quite frankly I'm surprised there's so many here. We had to park at RFK Stadium, and take a shuttle over here just to get in. That took a few hours in itself. Now we're at the Washington Monument. They have the concert from a few nights ago playing on the jumbotron. It's just amazing to take in this atmosphere. There's people everywhere. There's pretty much no place where no one is. It's just a great atmosphere out here even though it's cold.

Victoria Brown, Newfield High School, attending with classmates:

I can't believe we're here. We counted months days weeks and now it's just hours away.

9:35 a.m.: No room on the Mall: Julianne Nugent, Babylon High School, attending with classmates:

We have claimed our ground! The trip to get to this point was a little crazy. We all looked like penguins in a massive, massive overbreed. I don't think I took a full stride for 3 miles. There are people around every inch of my body. When I looked down I couldn't see any ground, only feet. From where I am standing I can see the Washington Monument and the Capitol building, to my left there is a large screen. Surprisingly and kind of scary, there were no security checkpoints. It's warmed up a lot and I'm not that cold. I hope I can last the rest of the day.

Amanda Furcall, Newfield High School, attending with classmates:

The crowds are filling in fast but everyone is just excited to be here.

9:21 a.m.: Feeling the support: Tomer Hananya, 11th grade, The Wheatley School, East Williston, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

It's so amazing to see everyone come together as a nation and support our president regardless of race, ethnicity or political standing.

Caitlin Meuser, 12th grade, Walt Whitman High School, Huntington Station, Presidential Youth Leadership Conference:

For warmth and with one thing in common -- hope for change and a better future for America.

9:15 a.m.: Insanity on the mall Jessica Rivetz, 11th grade, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

OMG! it's absolutely INSANE here! I've honestly never seen this many people before, pushing, screaming, cheering & running!

9:01 a.m.: Mosh pit on the mall Michelle Janaszak, Babylon High School, attending with classmates:

It's 8:30, and we still have about 2 hours until anything starts. It is very, very crowded, almost like a mosh pit, even about a mile away from the Capitol building. At least it's not very cold anymore, and the body heat from everyone helps, too. I can't see very much at all, being that I'm not very tall, but just hearing people cheer and some speeches that are on the jumbotron is a great feeling. My friends and I keep wondering what Obama is doing at this moment, I can't even imagine. I just looked up to see people sitting in a tree, they have the best spots around here! Music is playing, people are getting excited and waving American flags, and I can't wait to hear Obama!

8:49 a.m.: Trains packed in Washington, D.C. Katya Barrett, 9th grade, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, attending with family:

Met a family from Jacksonville, N.C. on metro. Their seventh grade daughter who had never been to DC before sat on my mom's lap on the jam-packed train.

8:47 a.m.: Obama optimism Kerri MacAlpine, 11th grade, Eastport-South Manor Junior Senior High School, attending through the Congressional Youth Leadership Council:

Even the sun is shining on the prospect of change.

8:32 a.m.: On the mall Jonathan Stuart, 12th grade, Center Moriches High School, attending through the Presidential Classroom program:

I am standing by the second jumbo TV and we are shoulder to shoulder.

7:36 a.m.: Lauren Effune, 11th grade, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, attending with family:

I'm here standing in the freezing weather waiting to be let into the mall. I am so cold but still in high spirits!

7:35 a.m.: Traffic building at inauguration Adrian Vatchinsky, 11th grade, Bay Shore High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

As we make our way at the amazing pace of three miles an hour, the anticipation for the historic event is immeasurable. Crowds of people are doing their best to get to the scene, as police try their best to navigate the traffic. Security checks are seen every few intersections and police are very vigilant. Besides by bus and car people are even walking to the scene in the freezing cold. The only thing keeping them warm is the patriotic passion they have for this country and the hope of change.

Waking up bright and early at the hour of 4:30 a.m. the PYIC (Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference) scholars eagerly woke up to get a quick breakfast and board one of the 150 buses reserved just for them. As the small migration of students makes its way to the Washington Mall it is joined alongside thousands of others all ready to observe history in the making.

Barack Hussein Obama's inauguration is showing to be quite the pop culture event with an estimate of 3 million attendees. Simply just by walking down the streets of Washington, D.C. one sees the hundreds of different stands all selling Obama apparel and souvenirs. It seems Obama has already brought change, change through his campaign. As General Colin Powell made the comparison at a speech to the PYIC scholars earlier, "Obama ran a military style campaign targeting the young and utilizing the fullest extend of technology". These effects radiate throughout Washington D.C.

7:25 a.m.: Hope for the country Michael Byrne, 11th grade, Mineola High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference:

The sun rises with the hope and anticipation of the American people.

7:15 a.m.: Waking early for Obama Michelle Janaszak, Babylon High School, attending with classmates:

My hands are a little too cold to type, but we are currently about 6 blocks away, trying to get to the security line but it is so incredibly packed, its hard to follow our leader and knowing our group, we are going to get very separated. We finally just reached the mall where I think we are standing. I still cannot even believe we are here, this is extremely amazing. The sun is beginning to come up and the start of an incredible day is about to begin.

7:13 a.m.: Lauren Effune, 11th grade, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, attending with family:

Hi, i just got on the train to the capitol and the train is packed! Everybody is so squashed but the environment is amazing.

7:10 a.m.: Arielle Starace, 12th grade, East Islip High School, attending through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference

I've been awake since 5:30 but it was the easiest morning to wake up. The security is very intense but that's what I've expected.

7 a.m.: Geoff Rostrup, 12th grade, East Islip High School, attending through the People to People Leadership Inauguration Program:

This morning I woke up at 4 o'clock because we had to leave by 5 to get to the mall early enough to get a decent spot.

5:30 a.m.: Babylon students leave for inauguration

My name is Richael DelGatto and I am from Babylon High School. It is 4:57 in the morning and we are on the bus getting ready to leave the hotel. It is very early and it is cold! Even though it is very early I'm still very excited to go see the inauguration.

Hi! My name is Michelle Janaszak, and I'm from Babylon Jr/Sr High School. With the alarm going off at 3:45 this morning, it was so much easier waking up and getting ready than I thought it would be because I am so excited to witness history. I still can't believe the fact that we are actually going see this event and be there! I hope I have enough layers on to stay warm, it's going to be quite early and cold.

Hi, my name is Donovan Longo, I go to Babylon Jr sr. high school. When I woke up this morning at 4 o'clock to the chipper of an automated voice of the wake up call, I was less than excited. Once the shock had passed over me I quickly became chipper myself. As I was pulling on my layers of clothes for the "arctic" weather, I asked my friend, "What do you think Obama is doing right now?" I am irrevocably anxious and have never before been a part of history in the making.

Hello everybody, my name is Julianne Nugent and I go to Babylon Jr./Sr. High School. It was an early start today. The dreaded beeping of the alarm began at 3:45 a.m. The air is sure cold enough for me. Despite all unprefable conditions everyone seems revved up and ready to go! Although I am also really pumped I'm going to take the opportunity to take a little nap while on the bus.

From Jonathan Stuart, 12th grade, Center Moriches High School, attending through the Presidential Classroom program:

Hey we got up this morning at 2:30 because breakfast was being served at 3:00 and the buses were leaving at 4 so now we are on the road.

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