Altar Valley students head to D.C. for inauguration - Tucson News Now

Altar Valley students head to D.C. for inauguration

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A total of 31 Altar Valley students will leave for Washington D.C. Saturday morning. A total of 31 Altar Valley students will leave for Washington D.C. Saturday morning.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Most of us will be watching the upcoming presidential inauguration ceremony on television, but a group of eighth graders from Altar Valley Middle School will be there in person.

For twenty years, the eighth grade class at the school has taken a trip to the nation's capital. It's typically in the springtime, and this year for the first time the trip is in January, all so students can see the president get sworn-in.

"When I first learned I was going to inauguration I was really excited," said T.J. Wilton, an eighth grade student at Altar Valley. "It will be awesome to go where all the laws are made and the president lives."

Thirty-one students and a dozen chaperones will leave for Washington D.C. tomorrow, ready for Monday's ceremony.

"Everything is going to be very serious and it's mainly going to be about our economy, government, stuff like that," eighth grader Aaliyah Solis said.

The students have been studying how the government works and they all say they're excited to see where the action actually happens.

"Bringing the material in textbook alive by actually seeing, experiencing it up close and personal," social studies teacher Ken Peterson said.

Ninety percent of students at Altar Valley Middle are on free or reduced price lunch, according to Peterson. The trip to D.C. is expensive at $1,400 per person. Through fundraisers, donations and sponsorships, Peterson's class raised $60,000. Arizona Senator John McCain provided tickets for the group of 43 so they all can get an up close seat to the inaugural ceremony.

"I find it a little bit amazing," Peterson said. "Profound gratitude for everyone coming together and helping to make this happen."

"Getting to see a president inaugurated is unique," Wilton said. "It's a once in a lifetime chance."

The group leaves Saturday morning and returns the following Saturday. 

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