GOODING — When Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Jan. 20 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., a group of Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind (ISDB) students will be there to witness it firsthand.
Four students and two educators received an all-expense-paid trip to the 58th presidential inauguration and tickets to attend Envision’s Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit after winning an online contest.
Nearly 35,000 schools nationwide entered the Champions for Change Contest. The public voted online for their favorite school. ISDB received the highest number of online votes along with a school in Arkansas and California.
“I didn’t think we stood a chance. It was put up on social media and stakeholders, families, students, staff and members of both Deaf and Blind adult communities took the ball and ran with it,” said Brian Darcy, the administrator at ISDB. “It really was a grassroots movement.”
The contest is part of the Chase the Race in School program, which Envision and Discovery Education launched in February 2016. The focus of the program is to engage, captivate and energize student voice on the importance of democracy and civic engagement. The program includes a series of classroom resources to lead students through the major presidential election milestones.
“Let’s face it, students with disabilities are underrepresented in most public-school leadership opportunities,” Darcy said. “Having them represent not only our school, but our state at a leadership summit of this magnitude will give a voice and representation to each of the many unique population groups that they represent.”
During Envision’s Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit held on Jan. 18-22, ISDB students will hear presentations by Gen. Colin Powell, Carly Fiorina and Nobel Peace Prize winner Laureate Malala Yousafzai. Students will learn how to become future leaders and tackle problems in the areas of healthcare, technology, the environment, foreign relations, human capital and women in leadership during the summit.
“We take seriously the charge to produce responsible, productive and contributing members of society when students graduate,” Darcy said. “Our students selected to attend continue to strive to achieve in the classroom and to develop self-advocacy skills.”