History for kids in elementary school

Inquirer staff writer Joelle Farrell reports:

2:05 p.m.

In Delaware County, 100 second and third grade students from the Widener Partnership Charter School gathered with about 100 university faculty and staff to watch the inauguration on a large movie projector screen in Lathem Hall, formerly a church.

Some of the elementary school students dozed off, while others squirmed in their chairs, their feet swinging. Others tried to ignore the distractions around them, taking in a moment they have been told was something to remember.

College students and faculty who gathered were mostly solemn, some leaning forward in their chairs, their hands holding up their chins, hanging on every word Obama uttered. Some were so mesmerized that they sat still, watching the screen, as others in the room clapped along with the crowd in D.C..

Afterwards, Annette Anderson, 37, an African American and the principal of the charter school, choked up while explaining how it felt to watch Obama’s inauguration.

“To think that our children now have a president who says we are all Americans,” she said. “From the Freedom Riders and those who marched …. All the people that were hosed in the South and discriminated against in the north,” now African American children “will have opportunities that even I didn’t have.”

Jazsmine Jackson, 8, a third-grade student from Upland, said she was glad to see so many people in Washington cheering for Obama.

“Barack Obama is going to be president and he is going to change things,” she said. “He’s an interesting man.”

Jackson, whose mother is a soldier serving in Kuwait, said she is proud that Obama mentioned the soldiers deployed overseas. She said she hopes her mother can help children in other parts of the world.

“I think that one day, they’ll have the same freedom,” she said.

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