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On the road: Journey from SCV to D.C.

Washington Journal: the Inauguration

Posted: January 17, 2009 8:28 p.m.
Updated: January 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Danielle Cooper and her three girls - from left, Elle, Iria and Elon - are going to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. The Coopers, from Valencia, are among several Santa Clarita residents attending the event.

Editor's note: Ninth in an exclusive series as Signal Staff Writer Brian Charles travels to Washington, D.C., to cover the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

Santa Clarita residents began leaving for the inauguration Saturday.

More than 30 students from Academy of the Canyons High School shivered as they waited for a coach bus to shuttle them to the airport and catch a morning flight to Washington, D.C., for the Tuesday swearing-in.

"I'm too exited to be tired," said Cody Cooper, an Academy of the Canyons student.

The sun just started to peek over the mountains Saturday morning as the students piled into the coach bus in a parking lot at College of Canyons' Valencia campus.

Cooper, 17 of Canyon Country, is taking the trip one day at a time. "I'm actually excited about our inaugural ball. I'll be excited about the actual inauguration as it gets closer," he said.

The students from Academy of the Canyons attend an inaugural ball tonight. The ball is for high school students and gives kids the feel of a real inaugural ball, said Robert Walker, teacher and trip organizer.

Jenna Edzant, 17, of Stevenson Ranch, marked down two sites on her trip to Washington, D.C., that are must-sees. "I really want to see the Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian," she said.

Inaugural balls and tours don't get Ashley Martin, 17, of Saugus, fired up.

"I have one goal, to see the inauguration. I've been to Washington before," she said.

Parents wiped away tears and waved to the coach bus as it pulled away.

The students will wade through security checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport and board their flight at noon for a nearly six-hour flight, Walker said. "It's a long travel day," he said.

Other Santa Clarita residents are making their way to the inauguration.

Danielle Cooper spent Wednesday evening packing herself, her husband Dwayne and the couple's three daughters for their trip to the inauguration.

Cooper's three girls, Elle, 8, Iria, 6 and Elon, 3, may be too young to comprehend all the history surrounding this inauguration, she said. But Cooper wouldn't miss the chance to include her girls in this historic event, she said.

"They may not remember everything about the inauguration, but (her daughters) will always be a part of that moment," Cooper said.

With temperatures expected to hover near freezing in Washington, D.C., Cooper is more than prepared.
"I've got layers of clothes for the girls. These are California girls, so they aren't used to the cold," she said.

The cold gives the Cooper girls a chance to witness something they don't normally see in Southern California -- snow.

"We're going to Washington to make a snowman," said Elon, when asked why the family was making the trip. The three-year-old also planned to pack something special for her trip.

"I'm bringing a carrot for the snowman," she said.


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