Two lucky Upper East Side high school students recently had the experience of a lifetime: attending the second inauguration of President Obama. Lucy Featherston, 14, and Sidney Roubin, 15, are both ninth-graders at Hewitt, an all-girls’ private school on East 75th Street.
“The moment my mom told me we had tickets, I said, ‘We have to go!’” Sidney said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The two girls had very different inauguration experiences. Sidney got tickets from a family friend and attended with her mother; while Lucy, who had gone to the 2008 inauguration, did not have tickets. She went anyway, and stood with her family amid the throng of enthusiastic Americans near the Capitol.
“It was really cool to look behind me and see thousands of people watching the same thing,” Lucy said.
But it was also pretty frustrating, she conceded, because the Jumbotron malfunctioned and she was not able to see the president’s speech.
Her friend Sidney, on the other hand, felt fortunate and elated because her inauguration tickets included exclusive passes to a candlelight reception at the National Building Museum. There, she got to see the president and vice president somewhat up close and personal.
Neither girl actually had the opportunity to meet the president, but they were in awe of being so close to him.
“If I met the president, I really don’t think I’d be able to say anything!” Lucy said.
For both girls though, attending the inauguration was more than just a novelty experience; they are personally interested in many of the most pressing national issues.
“I’m really interested in health care, because my father is a doctor,” Sidney said. “I don’t like seeing people suffer.”
After thinking for a moment, Lucy, the quieter of the two girls, spoke up about her political passion.
“I really want gay marriage to be legalized,” she said.
“Oh yeah!” Sidney chimed in. “Equality for everyone is important too.”
And as two young women in an all-girls’ school, both Lucy and Sidney agreed that first lady Michelle Obama is someone to look up to.
“She’s such a role model!” Sidney gushed. “I want to be just like her.”
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