Bronx in house at D.C. inauguration

Seven students from the Hunts Point Alliance for Children stand on the national mall during the Presidential inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21.
Photo courtesy of the Hunts Point Alliance for Children

The Bronx was in the D.C. house for the Presidential inauguration.

And the rest of it was glued the TV.

Thanks to Congressman Jose Serrano, seven high school students from Hunts Point Alliance for Children got to be in the thick of the national event on Monday, Jan. 21.

Serrano provided tickets to the Hunts Point Alliance for Children, which works with families to support the educational progress of the children of Hunts Point.

The tickets put the students up close and personal views to where President Obama was sworn in on the steps of the Capital building.

They were chosen because of their interest in civic engagement, participation in community service in Hunts Point, and their grade point averages.

Chelsea Alonzo, a freshman at St. Jean Baptiste High School, called it an unforgetable experience.

“Being able to witness this remarkable event is just fantastic, because just sitting at home watching it, can be emotional, but imagine standing there listening to him as he spoke, being able hear President Obama’s plans for our country,” said Alonzo, who added it “filled me with gratitude for being present.”

Her favorite part of the trip, she said, was listening to the President “and having the faith that President Obama will fulfill all of the plans he has, so that our country can be successful in future.

“For these four years I hope that Obama receives support from all the people so that the Dream Act can come true, so that many teenagers like me with or without papers can achieve their dreams in going to college and getting a profession.”

Maryann Hedaa, founder and managing director of HPAC, said the staff decided the trip would be more beneficial for their high school scholar program students rather than their middle school students “because a lot of our scholars are taking American history courses right now.”

The $4,200 to finance the trip was raised by HPAC through individual donors.

“We pretty much knocked on doors and asked people to donate money,” Hedaa said. “It was a phenomenal experience for the kids. One of the students that went actually said to me ‘this was one of the best days of my life.’ They loved the inaugural poet. The poem was so touching to them. They were utterly delightful to travel with, I can not tell you how much I love our students. It was like living American history.”

Hedaa said she is thankful to Serrano for giving the HPAC a chance to be part of such historical event.

Serrano responded that he was pleased that the young people “could come experience history.”

“The kids were selected because they expressed interest in politics and government.,” he said. “I think nothing is better to feed their interest than to see the biggest event of the political calendar in person. I hope the children from the Bronx go on to a lifetime of service, because there is no higher calling.”

While HPAC and Congressman Serrano brought the Bronx to D.C., Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Congressman Elliot Engel brought D.C. to the Bronx.

In conjunction with the Riverbay Corporation at Co-op City, they co-hosted an inauguration party at the Dreiser Loop Auditorium.

Co-op City residents were treated to coffee and donuts while they watched the swearing in of President Obama for his second term.

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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