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History in the watching
Students prepare for inauguration
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Forsyth County News

On Tuesday, Forsyth County students will take a break from studying history to watch it happen.

North Forsyth High School Advanced Placement U.S. History students Katie Blevins and Renée Blais supported different candidates during last year's presidential race.

The two are looking toward the next four years with different expectations, though both are throwing their support behind President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

For Blais, an Obama supporter, just to "be able to be a part of history being made before your eyes, is something that I never thought that I'd be able to experience in a lifetime. I think it's pretty important and exciting."

Around campus and in her history class, Blais said the election was a frequent topic of conversation throughout the fall.

When the race ended, however, so did much of the discussion among her peers.

But Blais believes the inauguration will stir new conversations, especially for younger students.

"They're going to have the first biracial president in their history books and I'll be able to speak to them and talk to them about it," she said.

Obama's focus on the nation's young people, Blais said, has made him a more attractive candidate for her generation and those to follow.

"I think people are wanting to see what he can do," she said. "He talks about change, so I think everyone is excited to see how he's going to do with that."

Welcoming the presidency has been more of an adjustment for Blevins, who supported the Republican ticket of Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"With the way that my parents raised me and everybody being so conservative around here, I definitely was more conservative in my opinions toward the outcome," she said.

"It's still a little shaky for me because I'm not exactly sure where he [Obama] stands on everything, because it feels like the issues kept changing so much that I never got a full grasp of what it was that Obama wanted to do."

But now that he will be president, she said, there is "nothing that I can do but support him in what he does."

Blevins said Obama's top priorities need to be the war and the economy. While both issues have been part of other presidencies, they're "more pressing now than it has been," she said.

While she is aware of the historical significance of Obama's election, Blevins said her children and grandchildren will probably have more of an appreciation for the moment.

"Right now, we're kind of living it, and it's trial and error with everything and seeing how it goes," she said.

"Hopefully, by the time their time rolls around, there will have been significant things that have happened where they can talk more about it and understand it a little better than we do now.

"I hope he does the best job he can for our economy and our government."