Alvarado was represented among the 1.3 million people who jammed the National Mall in Washington, D.C.,last week to witness history.

Alvarado High School Juniors, and members of the JROTC, Joslynn Penello and Andy Mills, departed from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Sunday morning, Jan. 17 for the flight to the nation’s capital to attend the inauguration of America’s first African-American president.

“It was an awesome experience,” Mills said. “We were just out in the middle of the crowd at the national mall and saw everything on the jumbo (video) screens.”

He commented on the frigid temperatures on Tuesday’s historic event.

“One thing we were told to do was to wear two pairs of socks,” he said with a chuckle. “It was mighty cold up there.”

Penello defined the event as a “once in a lifetime” experience for her.

“It was so much fun getting to be there and to witness history,” she said. “But I sure was tired when I got home,” she said.

The two didn’t travel alone – there were many other Texas students, one group from Chavez High School in Houston and Allen High School located in far north Dallas.

And the inauguration wasn’t the only attraction the Alvarado duo enjoyed either.

“We got to visit the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Capitol building, Washington’s home, Arlington Cemetery, the World War II and Viet Nam memorial walls, the Washington Monument and the Iwo Jima Memorial,” the teens recalled.

The JROTC Cadets said the trip had been planned for over a year. The American Legion Post No. 624 of Mansfield sponsored Mills trip while Penello’s parents paid their daughter’s expenses to the event.

Penello said her plans are to enter Baylor University and study law. Mills, who is in his second year as a member of the JROTC, plans to join the Marines upon graduation.

“Hopefully I can put my time in and then when I’m discharged, I want to go into the restaurant business.”

“The flight was from DFW to Chicago O’Hare Airport, and then we flew from there on into Washington DC,” Mills said, saying the two returned home midnight, Wednesday, Jan. 21. 

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com