By Eric Parry
KINGSTON — Sanborn Regional High School history teacher Michelle Karcz said her students are excited about watching the inauguration Tuesday, especially the ones who helped elect Barack Obama to the presidency.
Sanborn, like other schools in the region, plans to have televisions tuned to the inauguration in classrooms and cafeterias so teachers and students can discuss the historic event.
Karcz, who has taught a class on the elections all year, said a lot of her students have never followed the process so closely. Earlier in the year, students held a mock election and four students dressed up as the candidates in a debate.
"I don't think they understand how monumental this is," Karcz said.
She said Sanborn tried to set up a field trip to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, but decided against it when the cost proved too high.
Some Sanborn classes will analyze Obama's speech and compare it to past inaugural speeches.
Hampstead Middle School was slated to have the day off for a professional development day, but the School Board canceled that because of the days lost to the ice storm last month.
Principal Patti Grassbaugh said she was glad because now students will have the opportunity to watch and discuss the historic event with their teachers.
"We want to watch it with an eye to what the new president is saying. Do you have any questions? Do you think this will work?" Grassbaugh said.
The school received 40 tickets for students and teachers to witness the inauguration in person.
The Londonderry High School band will perform at the inauguration, and students back home also will be paying attention to the ceremony.
Radio and broadcast classes are planning to air some of the ceremony — and have band members and teachers call in to the show from Washington, Principal Jason Parent said.
"I'm sure teachers will also have it on in the faculty lounges and classrooms as well," Parent said.
Some local businesses will tune in.
Tupelo Music Hall is holding an "End of an Era" concert that features two bluegrass bands and a poet.
"It's just a celebration of change," said Scott Hayward, owner of the Londonderry venue.
Londonderry's Stonyfield Farm sent 10 pedicabs to Washington.
Drivers will be equipped with smoothies and special inauguration cookies from Dancing Deer Baking Co. in Boston.
Employees will be in Government Center in Boston, handing out samples of their smoothies.
The packaging of each cookie has a recipe for good government that includes ingredients like hope and honesty mixed with integrity to create 300 million servings.
"It's tying in what it means for Obama to come into office in the comfort of the cookie," spokeswoman Sarah Badger said.
Kimball Library in Atkinson plans to show the celebration on three televisions throughout the day in one of its meeting rooms and other locations in the new library, Director Diane Heer said.
"We have notices up letting people know that if they want they can come watch it here," Heer said.
The Salem Democratic Committee plans to meet Tuesday night for committee members to celebrate the victory and look ahead to the next four years, Chairwoman Laurel Redden said.
"We still have a lot of work to do supporting President Obama and our local Democratic leaders here in New Hampshire," Redden said.