Modesto high school groups head to Washington to watch inauguration

In only a few days, dozens of Modesto-area students will witness a landmark in our nation's history.

Either through their schools or other organizations, the students are going to Washington for the presidential inauguration. Groups from Johansen and Modesto high schools will attend.

Mike Chiavetta, history teacher from Modesto High and leader of that school's trip, said it will last for seven days, from Saturday to Jan. 23. Along with the inauguration, the group of around 40 students and chaperones also will tour many of the monuments and landmarks around Washington.

"I was motivated by last year's sophomores and this year's juniors to go," Chiavetta said. "It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun."

More than 4 million people — and maybe as many as 5 million — are expected to attend the inauguration, exceeding the record high of 1.2 million at Lyndon Johnson's inauguration in 1965.

Brent Bohlender, a history teacher at Johansen High, is planning his school's trip. His group of 14 people will leave for Washington on Sunday and return Jan. 23.

"I organized it a year ago," Bohlender said. "(At that time), you had the possibility of the first female president, the first African-American president, the oldest president — a lot of things would have made it unique. So I started pushing it."

Students also have made arrangements to be attend the inauguration outside of trips organized by their schools.

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