Bella Vista joins inauguration celebration

CNJ staff photo: Gabriel Monte Students at the Arts Academy at Bella Vista dance during the an inauguration ball Tuesday at the school.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Not to be left out of the celebrations at the nation’s capital, Clovis residents held their own commemorations of Tuesday’s historic inauguration.

Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s 44th president Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Quinn Nighoff was one of the 500 students at the Arts Academy at Bella Vista dancing and singing at the school’s special inauguration ball.

“Our school celebrates everything that’s exciting,” said the fifth-grader. “This is awesome.”

The students watched President Obama’s swearing in ceremony in their classes before the ball, according to music teacher Kim Hale.

“For a lot of them it’s their first time (watching an inauguration),” she said. “This is such a historic moment that it’s important to close down everything and show them.”

At the American Legion Post 117, officials expected more than 40 people to attend a party for the inauguration.

Post Commander David Jackson, who watched the inauguration said Obama’s presidency was a long time coming.

“It gave me goose pimples listening to what he had to say,” Jackson said of Obama’s inauguration address. “He’s going to make the changes necessary to (change the country). But it’s not going to happen overnight. People are going to have to have some patience.”

Around Clovis several residents are optimistic about the first term of the country’s first black president.

“It was an incredible day,” said La Casa de Buena Salud Chief Executive Officer Seferino Montano. “We were able to witness barriers broken.”

Alisia Johnson, 34, a service coordinator and developmental specialist at the ENMRSH, said she looks forward to Obama’s proposals on early intervention programs for children with developmental disorders.

“(It is) a crucial time for the development of children,” she said. “And (Obama’s) proposed support of early intervention is an opportunity to continue to provide these needed services.”

Rebecca Garcia was one of the 11 Clovis High School students who made a trip to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration.

She said the commute to the inauguration was jam-packed with people.

“It was definitely something I never would have expected in my life. I’ve never seen that many people,” she said.

She said despite the cold and the long wait for transportation, the spirit of the people did not fade.

“As we waited for the Metro, they would sing and they would dance. It was just a lot of fun,” she said. “They’re definitely excited.”

Garcia, who voted for Republican candidate Sen. John McCain in the general election, said she feels optimistic about Obama’s administration.

“I feel that he’s going to start making changes right away, and it’s going to be a definite change that the economy really needs right now,” she said.