Throughout the school year, the Kaleidoscope students studied a unit titled “The Road to the White House” and learned about the U.S. presidency and election process, said teacher Judy Roebuck.
“We learned all about the election process from the beginning to the very end,” she said. “We involved the students and the rest of the school by putting on a mock election. We had campaigns, and we had debates, … and of course we had the election.”
Roebuck said that when the students were nearing the end of the unit, she approached Principal Shelly Bell about letting them have their own inauguration and ball, with refreshments sold for $1.
“(It’s) a fundraiser for the school, and it ties it all together at the end,” Roebuck said.
Though Mitt Romney won the Pepperell students’ mock election, Roebuck said she told them that the nation might decide differently. It did. So on Friday, the students watched their fellow classmates form the Democratic Party at the podium.
Kemp Edge, a fourth-grader, portrayed Barack Obama during the inauguration, and fifth-grader Makenzee Liggons was at his side as Michelle Obama.
Fourth-graders Connor Arrington and Trisha Dobson portrayed Joe and Jill Biden during the ceremony.
The fourth-grade student body had their Inauguration Day during the morning, and the fifth-graders had theirs during the afternoon.
Kemp researched President Obama before he prepared his speech. He told his classmates that, as president, he believed in less government spending and more green energy. During his term, he said, he would push plans to help the automotive industry as well as boost economic growth with small businesses for which he would provide tax cuts.
Kemp also said he would focus on education, and he believed in government help for students who can’t afford to go to college. He also said he would help to put more programs in public schools.
“It’s my goal to improve early education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Kemp said. “Thank you fellow Americans for choosing me to serve for you for one more term. I promise to make this the best four years in American history. It’s my honor to serve as your president of the United States of America.”
The end of his address was met with applause from the student body, and then all the kids got to have their own inaugural ball dance party.
Kemp said he learned a lot from portraying Obama and enjoyed speaking to his fellow students.
“I learned that the inaugural ball is a ball where the president gets inaugurated and he takes his oath of office,” he said. “I was scared at first, but then it got really comfortable.”
Roebuck said she was proud of her Kaleidoscope students for the hard work they put in learning about the presidency.
“This was the culmination,” she said, “the ending party and celebration so that they can feel a part of what our nation was feeling.”