Oak Park students witness President Obama's Inauguration

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was no doubt an exciting day in the nation's capitol as Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation's 44th president. Amid the sea of people were nearly 30 Oak Park Elementary students. They had to get up at 3 a.m. just to get a good seat and say they almost didn't make it.

"When I woke up this morning everything was pretty smooth when we saw the traffic it was like what our hurricane evacuations look like, we did not think we would make it," said Oak Park fifth grade teacher Lesly Gobert.

Gobert says when the finally piled into the train they hit another set back. "And it got so packed that one of the doors broke on our first train that we had to get off so we actually thought we would never make it," said Gobert.

But they did. Standing in the freezing cold with an estimated two million people they watched as Barack Obama took his oath of office.

"When he got on stage, all you could really hear was everybody screaming -- 'Obama, Obama, Obama.' I was too short so I couldn't really see the screen that much, so all I really did was hear," recalled Oak Park 5th Grader Lyric Babineaux.

"Many people were like when he gave his speech were like, 'Yes, yes.' -- 'That's what we want!' 'Yes we can.' They were chanting the words, 'Yes we can' constantly they were screaming 'Obama' constantly - it was just remarkable," said Gobert.

Despite all the crowds, 4th grader Lyric Babineaux felt as though President Obama spoke directly to her. "The most important thing that he said to me was when he wanted a change and that we all can be one," said Babineaux.

But all eyes were not just on our new president, 4th grader Angela Baker says it was cool to see the first daughters, who have something special coming their way. "The girls would be very happy because I know they are getting a new puppy," said Baker.

A new first family, a new first dog and a new start for the country these local students can say they were there.

The Oak Park Elementary students return home Wednesday.