Erica Hernly, 16, is practically on the plane to Washington, D.C.
Plane ticket? Check. Dress pants and a nice shirt? Check, check.
Erica, a Lawrence High School sophomore, will meet up with people from across the nation to witness the 2009 presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.
“I thought it would be really cool to go to because it’s such a historical event,” she says.
Erica was accepted into the People to People Inauguration program after becoming a member of People to People, an organization that provides students with travel opportunities where they can learn about other countries and cultures.
Without her camera, Audrey Lamborn, 14, won’t have photos to take back to her friends after her trip to the White House.
The West Junior High School freshman also will be at the presidential inauguration and is excited to see her candidate sworn in.
“I really wanted to go because it’s the first black president’s inauguration,” she says.
Audrey will be traveling to Washington, D.C., with her father and brother.
Obama fans? Check.
Audrey was tired the day after the election. She stayed up to watch her candidate win, and she’s ready to follow him to the White House.
“Definitely watching him get sworn in will be my favorite,” she says. “And getting tours of all the historical buildings.”
Hernly also supported Obama throughout the election.
“I think he’s a good candidate and can turn some stuff around,” she says.
When Erica boards the plane for the capital, one thing she won’t forget is her list of scheduled activities. On it are a trip to the National Archives, a visit with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s granddaughter and the People to People Inaugural Ball.
But those aren’t Hernly’s favorites. She’s most excited about trips to the International Spy Museum and the Newseum, not to mention the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama.
Frequent flier miles? Check.
Having never flown alone, the one thing Erica is nervous about is the flight to Washington
“A family friend paid for the plane ticket with frequent flier miles,” she says.
Although Hernly will be traveling alone, her father is certain she’ll have a positive experience because his oldest daughter, Ellen, took a trip to New York through People to People when she was in high school.
“(Ellen) loved the trip,” Stan Hernly says. “She still keeps in touch with some of the people she met.”
While Erica is excited to make new friends and witness history, she is a little disappointed about leaving home and school.
“I talked about it with some friends and they said, ‘Go. Go see Barack. Go,’” she says.