West Springfield High School Newspaper

The Oracle

Courtesy of Joseph Price

Courtesy of Joseph Price

Meg Wilder, Oracle Editor

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Inauguration weekend was an active one for Spartans, no matter where they fell on the political spectrum. Within 48 hours, two events took place in DC that would have ripple effects across the globe:
The inauguration of President Trump, and the Women’s March on Washington. WS students were present at both, toting signs and letting their voices be heard.
Senior Joseph Price attended the inauguration to show his support for President Donald Trump and the new administration. Throughout Trump’s campaign Price had been vocal about his political views, appreciating the campaign’s message of “America First.”
“I am very hopeful about the next four years,” said Price. “I think that, as a country, we will be strong and secure again. I feel that there will be more opportunity for success with America being put first.”
Senior Brenden Blevins, who also attended the inauguration, shared Price’s sentiments. He believes Trump will improve the nation’s economy and asks for his opponents to “just give him a chance.”
“The inauguration was very exciting for me,” said Blevins. “I was impressed by how many people came out to show their support.”
Other Spartans, such as junior Carloslos Perez, attended the inauguration out of a sense of curiosity. Perez did not go to support Trump but rather out of a desire to be a witness to the significant event. He felt that the day was historical, whether or not he was happy about the election results.
“A mutual friend had an extra ticket and nobody else was going to claim it, so I was like, ‘When’s the next time I’m going to be able to go to an inauguration?’” said Perez. “It wasn’t really out of support for Trump. I just wanted the experience of going to an inauguration.”
Perez was not alone in his attitude. Senior Chris Kernan also went to the inauguration out of a desire to be a witness to the event.
“I felt like with all the polarization between different groups of people, it would be very interesting to see what the inauguration was going to be like,” said Kernan. “I was just a spectator.”
Kernan, however, had a unique perspective. The passionate Spartan also went to the Women’s March on Washington the following day and had a lot to say about how the two events compared.
“The atmosphere at the Trump inauguration, even right in the Metro, it was…kind of spiteful,” said Kernan. “I felt like the people at the Trump inauguration felt like they had overcome the establishment in a way, and they’d succeeded in their victory, and they were very angry with the different protesters and the previous administration.”
The Women’s March, on the other hand, felt quite different to Kernan.
“The Women’s March was very positive; it had a very positive vibe,” said Kernan. “For example the Metro was very crowded, like by the second stop nobody could get on…but people were still super positive. When we were squished all together, they were still just happy to be participating and happy that they were united.”
Junior Jocelyn Highsmith also attended both the inauguration and the march, and agreed that the atmosphere at the inauguration was not as upbeat as one might have expected. She believed the rain might have had an effect on the mood.
“At the Inauguration of President Trump, the atmosphere was more serious, controlled, and organized,” said Highsmith. “The constant drizzle of rain throughout the day definitely put a damper on the mood.”
The two events had different tones for a reason. Traditionally, inaugurations are formal, solemn events, while marches are an opportunity for people to speak up passionately for what they believe in.
Other Spartans who attended the Women’s March also believed it felt more cheerful. One such Spartan was History teacher Joanne Pendry, who attended the march with her daughter Katherine, Class of 2015, and current junior Tiffany Etesam. Pendry remarked that while she was on the crowded Metro, she noticed that a woman who was eight months pregnant was standing up. All Pendry had to do was shout, “Hey! Pregnant lady coming through!” and people quickly made room for her to sit down, despite being squished shoulder-to-shoulder in the Metro car.
“It was such a happy day,” said Pendry. “To see the diversity of feminists, no matter what they looked like or what their particular interest might be, really lifted my spirits.”
Pendry said that she attended the march because after the election she was left feeling “out of touch” and “bewildered.”
“I’ve always been a very strong advocate for women’s issues,” said Pendry. “And I just felt that I needed to do something.”
This desire to come together was shared by other Spartans who attended the march, such as junior Emily Norton and seniors Chloé Berger and Meghan McIntyre.
“I begged my mom to let me march. I really needed to feel like something I was doing could have an impact,” said Norton, who attended the march with her family. “I believe every person regardless of gender or race should be treated equally in every situation. I want to continue fighting for women’s equality and equality for all.”
Berger and McIntyre went to the march together to stand up for what they believe in and to speak out against what they believed to be a negative campaign. It was the first time either of them had participated in such an event.
“Being there protesting with all of those other people and actively participating in democracy has made me really grateful and proud that I actually have the ability to bring about much needed change,” said McIntyre.
All in all, it was an eventful weekend, to say the least. Spartans from both sides of the political spectrum spoke up for what they believed in, no matter what that might be.
“I believe that it is vital to society that young people be politically active today,” said Price. “Everyone has a voice and everyone deserves to be heard.”

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