Champlain Valley teachers emphasize importance in Inauguration Day

Local News

“This year, I felt like it was important to show the students the history and why it’s an important part of our nation,” said Erin McGill.

McGill is a former first grade teacher of twelve years. Today, she is a librarian in the Plattsburgh City School District, teaching students at both Glasgow and Oak Street Elementary.  

“I moved to a librarian position because I have a passion for reading and books and spreading literacy to children. This position is very unique because I get to work with all grade levels,” said McGill.

McGill explained that she helps K – 5th Grade students understand current events and develop their research skills, which came in handy on Inauguration Day. McGill said she designed an interactive computer lesson and read books written about the new administration.

“Third, fourth, and fifth got a similar experience but we went a little more in depth with what the Inauguration was and the history of it and famous quotes from speeches in the past,” said McGill.

Zach Gonzalez, U.S. history teacher and department head at U-32 High School in Montpelier had a similar approach. 

“I wanted to make it clear to my students that this is actually not about one man, this is not about any one person. In fact, it’s not only a Constitutionally mandated event, but it’s a celebration that’s taken place and persevered through civil wars, depressions, etc.,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said he spent class time exploring the history of inauguration ceremonies and unique traditions. 

“Things like President Jimmy Carter in 1977 unexpectedly getting out of his limousine with his wife and his daughter and walking a mile from the Capitol to the White House, and now that’s someone modern Americans expect,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez also mentioned that Trump’s absence Wednesday wasn’t unprecedented, making him one only four U.S. presidents to not attend his successor’s inauguration. One of his students says she appreciated how Mr. Gonzalez designed his lesson.

“Most of us don’t always realize, but we’re living through history right now,” said U-32 High School junior Allie Guthrie.

“I wanted to remind kids that this is the same Capitol that literally two weeks ago an insurrection had occurred there…Windows were broken, things were stolen, things were destroyed, people were killed, and in and of itself, that was symbolic,” said Gonzalez.

Zach says he was proud of students for listening and engaging in meaningful discussion. 

“I really want to make sure on a day like today or every four years that we do get a chance to talk about this celebration or at the very least for all Americans a true transition to a different chapter,” said Gonzalez. 

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