Having a ball

Regular classroom activities came to a halt in schools all across Lexington Tuesday morning as students gathered around TV sets to watch history being made with Barack Obama's inauguration as America's 44th president.

Officials at Fayette County Public Schools said virtually every school in the district took time out so students could witness the moment.

At Lexington Traditional Magnet School, youngsters watching from the school library clapped after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to the new president.

Meanwhile, other LTMS students joined youngsters from Saints Peter and Paul School to watch NBC's inauguration coverage on a big screen in the auditorium at the Lexington Public Library downtown. They also answered presidential trivia questions tossed out by library workers.

"It's going to be so cool to tell my kids that when I was 12, I saw the first black president," said Sydnee Franklin, an LTMS seventh-grader and one of many Lexington youngsters caught up in the excitement of seeing the inauguration of a new president whose policies might do much to shape their futures.

Meanwhile, kids in teacher Beth Randolph's fifth-grade class at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts watched the inauguration Tuesday after donning homemade period costumes, portraying famous former presidents, first ladies and other American women of note.

Sam Flomenhoft put on a wig to play President John Adams. A top-hatted Jarod Frank was Abe Lincoln, and Amir Abou-Jaoude put on a military uniform to become Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president.

Megan Leiter portrayed women's suffrage champion Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Kara Bethel became Eleanor Roosevelt, and Maya Jundi was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

After cheering their way through the inauguration, the class celebrated by dancing the waltz during their own version of an inaugural ball.

Randolph, who planned the special event, said it was intended to round out what students had learned about the presidential election since last fall.

"I wanted to do something special that the children would remember for the rest of their lives," she said. "I think they enjoyed it very much."