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A look back: How McCollum HS students helped KSAT cover the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama

Roy Aguillon, who attened Obama’s inauguration as a high school student, returns to DC in 2021

U.S. President Barack Obama is inaugurated for a second term as President on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Reportage)
U.S. President Barack Obama is inaugurated for a second term as President on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Reportage) (Getty Images)

As the country gears up for Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, we’re republishing a cache of blog posts (remember those?) and photos from the 2009 inauguration.

The past coverage is not only a blast from the past, but timely because of KSAT’s coverage plans for the 2021 inauguration.

A group of digital journalists from La Prensa Texas, some of whom KSAT followed on their trip to the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, are heading to DC to help KSAT cover the historic event next Wednesday.

Below, you can relive some of their first-hand experience from 2009.


Witness to History (oh, how I’m jealous!)

An invite for the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
An invite for the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. (KSAT)

Students these days always amaze me (I hesitate to call them kids, because there’s nothing childish about the teenagers of whom I write – as you will soon learn)!

Just yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting three people – a young women and two young men – who are about to join millions of people in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of Barack Obama (an event hereafter referred to as Obama-Palooza). I am so excited for them!! I’ve never been to an inauguration, and here they are, about to be part of it all! But attending the inauguration isn’t what separates them from the pack – millions will be jamming into Washington, D.C., alongside them to witness, revel and participate in Obama-Palooza. Their motivation, their hard work, their enthusiasm – it’s infectious, and that’s what I admire. Admittedly, I was not nearly so forward-thinking when I was their age. Secretly, I crave it for myself, for my family and for my friends (okay, not so secretly… hence the whole blog-on-the-internet-for-all-to-see thing).

Juany Torres, Roy Aguillon and Chris Cantu are all students at McCollum High School – part of the Harlandale ISD. They are smart, interesting, motivated and willing to work for what they want.

Shouldn’t we all be so inclined?

They worked hard to raise the money to pay for their trips to Washington, DC – and earned invitations to the Inauguration from U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. As a woman who’s been doing this news thing for awhile… they seem to me – what is the word?

Fearless?

Optimistic?

Unabashed?

None of those descriptions seem enough. Not nearly enough. Chris, Juany and Roy seem to believe that anything is possible. Anything is theirs for the taking. Anything can happen with hard work, determination, good fortune, and a willingness to dig in and get involved. Of course, I desperately want to believe they’re right. They deserve to be right. I vaguely remember feeling that way a long time ago, perhaps when I was their age. But, only once did I feel COMPELLED to act on it.

They act on it.

They walk to the walk.

They’re serious business.

So, here we all are… on the eve of something I believe is really exciting. This is big time. There is serious business to be done here. Even if you don’t buy into the Obama-Biden promise. Even if you didn’t vote at all – this is our time to act.

This is our time to be compelled.

This is our time to walk the walk.

And so, we are delighted to have three young explorers there to help us navigate through the first few moments of this time. Chris, Roy and Juany are jetting off to Washington, D.C., – armed with video cameras and laptops – ready to share their experience; share their excitement. They’ll be touring the city, attending the events and witnessing the history.

Savoring the moment.


Roy Aguillon’s 1st impressions of his Washington, DC Trip

This is the first installment of Roy Aguillon’s blog of his trip to Washington, DC to witness the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. Roy is one of the three students from McCollum High School who we are following on their journey. Here is his first entry:

Today we arrived in Washington, DC and the first stop on our trip was the United States Capitol.

I couldn’t help but get goosebumps as we walked down the hallways of that historic building; while I walked a sense of history began to surround me. I could picture some of the greats like Daniel Webster or Robert Kennedy pacing the hallways and looking for the answer to some of our nation’s most pressing problems. To step where some of our nation’s most valued leaders once stepped was truly an honor.

Even right now at the start of my journey I can’t help but remember those who helped me get here. Because I am in no position financially to be going on trips across the country, I had to depend on my community to support me, and boy, they sure did! Every aspect of the community helped us in every way they could – from small businesses like Jasmine Engineering, or community groups like the Mission Democrats, the River Worship Center Christian Church, and the San Antonio Progressive Action Committee – they all gave what they could. But what touched me the most was the individual donors who helped us get here, with everything from $1 to $100, they gave so that we could witness this truly historic moment when our nation will receive its first African-American President.

Thank you to everyone who helped us get here and Thank You KSAT 12 for giving us the tremendous opportunity to record and report on our journey though this truly historic moment.


Chris and Roy’s D.C. Adventure

Memorabilia from the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Memorabilia from the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. (KSAT)

The following are the latest two blog entries from McCollum High School students Chris Cantu and Roy Aguillon. They, along with classmate Juany Torres, have traveled to Washington, D.C., to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Roy: Today was a wonderful day, although it got all the way down to 6 degrees, we somehow made it. We met some interesting figures on our second day here in Washington D.C.

For example, today we met a gentlemen who registered over 2,000 new voters! We also met a restaurant owner who was so inspired by President-Elect Obama that he made and named a burger after the President-Elect. The people around here are excited about the transition of power, and according to a number of the locals, this kind of preparation for an inauguration is unprecedented.

It’s pretty easy to see the evidence of that all around us as we drove past the gated off Swearing-In Ceremony area, Chris and I counted well over 400 portable restrooms in one area alone! Tonight we’re off to the Lincoln Memorial, An Inauguration party that’s headlined by The Common, and a tattoo shop that offers the face of the President-Elect as one of its tattoo options. We hope to bring you more of our original perspective on all the Inaugural events in the days to follow so keep tuning in to KSAT or checking our video/text blog on the KSAT website to see what happens next. That’s my blog for today Signed, Sealed, and Delivered.

Chris: Today was the first day we were officially on our own in the downtown area. We first went walking to the Nation’s Capital to see the wonderful monument. While we were walking there it was freezing! The temperature was in the single digits, lower than San Antonio has ever had in my lifetime. Bundled up in layers of clothes, all I could think of is how crazy this it that I’m actually in Washington D.C.

I want to THANK everybody who made it possible for me to be here. It’s simple amazing that I’m able to be here and witness history all because of a little luck and a BIG help from my supporters. Roy and I want to thank all of our school board members including our superintendent, Robert Jacklich, and our principal, Diana Casas ‚for letting us have the opportunity to be here. I also want to thank all the people who have contributed to me financially; Shawn McCormick from Summit HME including many of the employees, Escamilla & Poneck, and every one else who donated from family members to friends, I truly couldn’t do it without y’all.

It was great, we went to Library of Congress and explored our nation’s documents and learned more about our countries history. After that we took some shoots from the capital to send to KSAT. But the day still ain’t over, next we are going to an inauguration party, Lincoln Memorial, and many more. We’ll make sure to take our camera to record our events. That was my evening, I’ll post more blogs as the trip progresses. Thanks for reading!


SAPD Officer Marcus Trujillo’s Washington, DC Journal

SAPD officer and former KSAT traffic anchor Marcus Trujillo in Washington, D.C., for the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
SAPD officer and former KSAT traffic anchor Marcus Trujillo in Washington, D.C., for the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. (KSAT)

SAPD Officer Marcus Trujillo is in Washington, DC along with 59 other SAPD Officers, who are providing security for this week’s Inauguration Festivities.

Here are his initial observations from our nation’s capital:

In San Antonio…it was a 45 minute wait to get to the ticket counter, then we went through multiple security checks. We arrived at the airport at 4am; we boarded the plane at 5:40am.

In Dallas, no problems.

Arrived at Hotel in Bethesda, checked in and headed for D.C.

Lots of walking around (5 1/2 hrs), tons of people once you get close to the Washington Monument, White House etc.

Once the sun went down,it was like someone opened a floodgate of people walking everywhere…dinner was at a hotdog stand….every restaurant we passed had people standing in line outside waiting to be seated (Average 1-1.5 hr wait).

We headed up to the room to change into uniform, then we boarded a bus that took us to

our briefing / orientation / swearing in…should be done by 5:00pm our time.

Tomorrow we have heard we need to be on our post (on the street) by 0400hrs (4am).


Juany Torres’ First Blog Post From D.C.

Student Juany Torres shares her experience from 2009.
Student Juany Torres shares her experience from 2009. (KSAT)

Juany Torres is one of the students from McCollum High School who traveled to Washington, DC for the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. Here is her first observations from Washington, DC.

Wow! My first day in Washington, DC has been unbelievable.

Arriving from Union Station last night was amazing. They had a platform and red, white, and blue balloons everywhere awaiting Obama’s train ride arrival.

The first thing you see when walking outside is our United States Capitol.

It was unbelivable and very emotional; I could not contain my tears. My dream was coming true. I was picked up and given a tour of the city. From the Lincoln Memorial to the Pentagon, I saw it all. It was wow, crazy!

Today I went to look at even more memorials and historic monuments. I also had the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum.

Washington, DC is getting more packed by the minute and streets and freeways are starting to get closed down. The temperatures are getting colder than they have been all year but its is an unforgettable experience.

Tomorrow I will be going to the Latino Inaugural Gala where I will meet with George Lopez, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria, Paulina Rubio and many more of these great LATINO celebrities. It is said Obama might even show up! I cant wait!

Stay tuned to KSAT because I will try to send as much video coverage as possible! Wish me luck!


More adventures from McCollum HS Students in Washington, DC

Roy (Saturday):

Today was by far the craziest day we’ve had. Yesterday was kind of a bust so last night Chris and I agreed to make today the best it could possibly be and we sure did.

Starting this morning we went to a local restaurant called the Hawk and Dove and it was fantastic there. After that Chris and I decided we would go to the Lincoln Memorial to do some sight seeing; we took a taxi there and when we arrived it was gated-off, however the taxi driver did some slick trickery and got us in. Then Chris and I walked around and after awhile we realized we were very lucky to be inside that gated area. Everyone else had passes but not Chris or I; we were just walking and recording.

We got on the same stage where the “House Choir” sang and we somehow found our way into their formation, however they found out that we were not part of the choir. We wondered what gave it away and when we stepped back we realized it was an all black choir and we stuck out like sore thumbs.

After that we went to the Georgetown Park Mall and looked for some souvenirs, but while we were shopping an emergency alarm went off, all the doors closed and security guards started running all around us. While Chris and I shoved though the crowd to get out of the building, other folks were coming back in. After awhile we realized it was just a drill so we relaxed and kept walking around the mall. We discovered a nice art gallery that was entirely devoted to the President-Elect – it was really neat. There was everything from paintings that morphed Obama’s face into Lincoln’s, to pieces of junk metal welded together to make the image of Obama’s face.

We went to a Youth Ball, which was delightful; they had food from all around the world there – it was strange but cool.

Once the clock struck 9 we had to leave to another ball and that one was wonderful. It was the Green Ball and everything there was entirely environmentally friendly; the lights used 60% less energy and some of the dresses and coats were made entirely of recycled materials. They had the singer Wyclef Jean there to entertain the crowd and during his encore performance the singer pulled me on stage and I had a blast up there!

Chris and I finally went our separate ways after that event; he went to the hotel and I joined my friends from North Carolina as they went to a Young and Powerful party. I arrived at the hotel at around 3am and that was my day.

Roy (Sunday):

Today was a very slow day for me. I stayed home and rested up for tomorrow. But I did go out once Chris and I took the subway to go have dinner in downtown D.C.

There was one thing that I saw today that really made me think. On the subway we sat by some very nice African-American ladies and when they talked about Barack their eyes lit up and you could see that hope had been restored in their hearts because they had found their leader. It was beautiful.

Then I started to think if there has already been plenty of Caucasians in the White House and now an African-American is about to live in the most famous house in the world, it seems as though perhaps our turn is next. As we await for the next leader in the Latino community to arise it is my belief that we – the young Latinos of this community like myself – must start to change the way we do things. We must start taking education seriously. Our ethnic group has the highest dropout rate in the nation; let us start by staying in school and off the streets. We must as young men hold ourselves to a higher standard; we have got to start respecting the young women of our community; stop trying to be little pimps and start being young gentlemen. Our ethnic group has the highest pregnancy rates in the nation and that is unacceptable. But there is also something amazing about us as Latinos – we have endured years of being secondhand citizens, we have overcome almost every obstacle that has come in our way, and we have silenced every critic who has tried to tell us we could not accomplish what we have already determined we would. Our time is coming and our moment is fast approaching – we are soon to be the largest minority group in the nation, but before that day comes let us begin to prepare by changing our behaviors and attitudes. Cesar Chavez and other Latino leader like him have taken us to the mountaintop, but now it is up to us to find a way to enter into the promised land.


Day One

Well, after a really long trip, no breakfast, and what seemed like an hour ride from the airport to our hotel. We were finally off and running in D.C.

It was crazy, imagine our wall to wall fiesta crowd but only everywhere you go in D.C. The group I was with ate hot dogs for dinner because every restaurant we walk by had a line with at least hour to two hour wait to be seated. Everyone here has been great, and the strange thing is that you can tell most of the people that you run into here are tourist. Not many locals seemed to have stayed here. With the amount of people here, your not going to do anything quickly. Even walking down the street can be a challenge. Tomorrow we will be orientation, a briefing and we will be sworn in. The wind cuts right thru your clothes if you don’t have layers on. I’ll check back in tomorrow and have more details on this awesome opportunity.

President Barack Obama takes the oath.
President Barack Obama takes the oath. (Pool)