J.S. Fielding admits he’s a little behind in his school work right now.
But the ninth grader’s teachers can certainly pardon his recent four-day absence from class.
After all, Fielding did witness the swearing in of the 44th United States president.
“They know I wasn’t skipping,” Fielding said.
Fielding, a Madison County High School Freshmen Academy student, traveled by train to Washington, D.C., last week and braved the millions to behold history as Barack Obama became America’s first black president.
“There were a lot of people,” said Fielding, who noted that he was pretty far back from Obama at the inauguration. “It would have been easy to get lost … I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people before.”
Middle school teacher Sabrina Howard nominated Fielding last year as an eighth grader to attend the National Youth Congressional Leadership Council in Atlanta. Completion of that program put him on a list for a potential trip to the presidential inauguration.
Fielding learned in March that he was Washington, D.C., bound.
It was certainly a long trek for the MCHS student to hear Obama speak.
Fielding’s trip to Washington took 11 and a half hours.
“It was pretty rough,” said Fielding, who left Jan. 16 and returned Jan. 21.
Many have weighed in with their thoughts on Obama’s speech in the days that followed the inauguration.
Solid address, though a touch heavy on the quotations at times, perhaps.
“I thought it was a very nice speech,” Fielding said. “He seemed to quote a lot of people … But it was a good speech, like he always delivers.”
After watching Obama accept the reins of office, Fielding attended an inaugural ball at Air and Space Museum.
Fielding didn’t see Obama while there, but did see at least one celebrity — spotting rapper “Common” — at the black-tie affair.
In all, Fielding traveled over 1,200 miles and took two and a half memory cards worth of pictures.
Fielding’s classmates received him warmly upon his return, the majority of which found the experience to be “pretty cool.”
Though most teachers haven’t asked him to recreate his trip to Washington for the class, Fielding has been asked to speak to his church regarding his journey to witness history.