Holtville students heading to Washington, D.C. for inauguration

January 13, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

HOLTVILLE — Ten Holtville High School students are flying to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration of George W. Bush.

The group will be accompanied by Vicki Wells, a social studies teacher at Holtville High, and Elaine Ponton, a retired elementary school teacher.

This will be Ponton's third trip to Washington, D.C. Her first was in 1947 when she was a high school senior. She lived in Chicago and the five-day trip cost $35.

Accompanying students isn't new to her. She and her husband, Lawrence, made six trips to Europe with the San Diego Youth Symphony. Although this will be Wells' first trip accompanying students, she has a lot of experience with teen-agers as the mother of nine.


Those going are Justin Burquist, 17, son of John and Debbie Burquist, C.C. Wells, 15, daughter of David and Vicki Wells; Jimmy Mainas, 17, son of George and Maria Mainas; Nicole Rodrigues, 15, daughter of John and Regina Rodrigues; Geoffrey Ritter, 17, son of David and Nora Ritter; Kalli Stergios, 15, and Chris Stergios, 17, children of George and Greta Stergios; Melissa Strahm, 16, daughter of Cliff and Frances Strahm; Alex Perez, 17, son of Manuel and Laura Perez and Sheldon Tounzen, 16, son of John and Beverly Tounzen. The trip will be from Jan. 18-23.

Regina Rodrigues is looking forward to possibly getting a close look at the president and meeting lots of people.

"President Clinton went to the Hard Rock Cafe inauguration ball four years. Maybe President Bush will be there too," she said.

Kalli Stergios is gathering warm clothes for the trip and is mostly looking forward to seeing the inauguration.

Seeing the White House, Smithsonian and historical monuments tops the list for Jimmy Mainas.

Alex Perez is eager to see the historical monuments he has read about over the years, but topping the list is his desire to see President Bush.

There is only one Gore fan in the group.

The students raised some of the funds for the trip by having car washes, cookie sales, an opportunity drawing and a two-week day camp for kids in the summer.

Included in the itinerary are the Holocaust Museum, Smithsonian, the White House, Arlington National Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, National Cathedral, National Geographic, Ford's Theater, Kennedy Center, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Iwo Jima, Vietnam and Korean war memorials and the FDR Memorial.

The inaugural tour is sponsored by Lakeland Tours of Charlottesville, Va. This tour was started by a former teacher.

Lakeland Tours provides a chaperon in addition to Wells and Ponton.

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