The students of the Clay Community School Corporation watched history unfold as Barack Obama took the oath of office and became the first African-American President of the United States.
"These 5-and 6-year olds amaze me each day, but they really did today," Jackson Township Elementary Kindergarten teacher Rae Anne Howald said. "As we watched (Aretha Franklin) sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee," some of the kindergarteners put their hands over their hearts."
Howald was proud of the students and their love of country.
"As Barack Obama was introduced, (the students) applauded," she said. "They are displaying patriotism at such a young age. It was really neat to watch."
Many teachers tried to tie in the historical moment with different lessons to help students understand the significance of the event.
"To prepare the students for the inauguration, they read through the President's Oath and discussed what the oath actually means. Then in groups, the students stood up and recited the oath in front of the class. During the inauguration, the students watched as Barack Obama gave his oath to the country," Forest Park Elementary fifth-grade teacher Natalie Wolfe said. "As they witnessed this day of history, they were excited because they knew exactly what President Obama was going to say and understood that the oath was more than just some words being said."
Even high school students were able to apply the events of the day to their area of course study.
"In our ICE (Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education) program, the assignment was to watch the inauguration, and to write down every job you can see or think of that deals with the inauguration," Northview High School ICE Coordinator Penny Groover said.
ICE is a careers class for high school seniors. Students intern with local business and are paid through the business.
The internship allows students the chance to experience a career path while reinforcing development of academic and technical skills.
"Wednesday's class lesson will build on Tuesday's job list, as the class will discuss each job and its functions and the importance it played in the inauguration," Grover said.
Students in all of the schools were given access in some way. Some students watched on televisions others on computer screens. Even though the oath taken by the President and his speech were during lunchtime, students still watched.
"The boys and girls had limited knowledge about the inauguration most likely due to their age. However, we set up our two classroom computers on msnbc.com so those wishing to do so could watch," Clay City Elementary School third-grade teacher Janine Mullinix said. "Unfortunately, part of it took place during the students' lunch. I did find it interesting that some of the boys and girls continued to watch during their recess."
Students remarked on the event, especially in relationship to the massive crowds.
"One of my students, Dawson Ames, made the remark that although he had heard some about the inauguration, he had no idea that many people would be there," Mullnix said. "He especially commented about the massive amount of security he noticed."