COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Despite remote learning restrictions, students from Northland High School were among the millions nationwide to tune into Wednesday’s inauguration.
For some students, it was their first time really sitting down and watching the inauguration in it’s entirety.
Monique Simmons, a social studies teacher at Northland High, said she wanted the students to witness what she called a peaceful transfer of power.
Though the protest officials feared never materialized, students said they were disappointed to see former President Donald Trump not in attendance, as is tradition.
The students were able to watch President Biden take his oath of office and address the nation virtually. He talked about the pandemic and ending systemic racism.
One student said that the message was necessary, but he’s eager to see what tangible actions the President takes to end the system racism plaguing the country, because it’s a reality he lives with every day.
“There are situations that I could get into that won’t even be my fault and I’ll be accused of it, I could be killed over it, I could be sent to jail for life,” that student said. “I know people that have been sent to jail for life for crimes they didn’t commit.”
The divide the country has seen is something educators see every day.
“The quote that he used about how he hopes to build a country where we are not adversaries but neighbors, is an essential belief that I think was a foundation of our government and would help a lot of my students and Americans feel safer in the country,” social studies teacher Monique Simmons said.
Wednesday’s inauguration also gave students the chance to witness the historic moment in which Vice President Kamala Harris took her oath.
One student said he hopes it resonates with young women in his school and community.
“Anybody who has ever been successful needs people to get them there,” said one student. “I’ve always been told since I was little you can do anything you want to do, as long as you put your mind to it. So, for them to see her, maybe that will give them that same mentality.”
Educators say Vice President Harris’ rise can provide hope about the possibilities of their own futures.
“I hope they see themselves. That this is something you don’t have to be born a male to take on one of the highest elected offices in the world, and certainly in our country,” said Simmons.
Adding that more diversity is needed in elected positions nationwide.
“Not only a woman, but a person of color, and a person of South Asian descent. It’s exciting to see more diversity,” Simmons added.