Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

In South Florida Classrooms, Biden's Inauguration Was a Massive Teachable Moment

For educators who specialize in history and civics, what better lesson plan is there than a presidential inauguration?

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For educators who specialize in history and civics, what better lesson plan is there than a presidential inauguration?  As local AP government teacher Jeff Foster told NBC 6, “We are watching history happen."

Foster works at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he said his students had felt shaken by the Capitol riot and the protesters' attempt to subvert the democratic process.

On Wednesday, the high schoolers were grateful to see a smooth transition of power, Foster said.

“It was enormous, especially comparing it, again, to what just happened,” he said over Zoom. “It’s been so much rancor in the world. I think it’s great that Biden set a tone of unity today, and we spoke about that a lot today in class."

Joe Biden's inauguration events featured an array of notable and celebrity guests, and Foster said this was probably designed to appeal to diverse groups of people, something his class took note of as a message of unity.

“He had Garth Brooks, he had Jennifer Lopez, he had Lady Gaga, and each person relates to a different group in America. There's no question that was intentional,” he said. 

Across classrooms in South Florida and likely the nation, the inauguration emerged as a massive teachable moment. NBC 6 sat in with one seventh-grade class at Miami's Shenandoah Middle School as they watched the events unfold live.

“I will always remember this moment,” said Janaya Smith, one of the students.

The kids' teacher, Teresita Herrera, told NBC 6 that while she hopes they hold on to the memory of today, even more important is acknowledging and understanding the significance of seeing a woman of Black, Caribbean and South Asian descent become the Vice President of the United States.

“Yes, the people do have power in the government, and the people do have the power to change or to make our government better, which is what our Constitution’s all about,” Herrera said. 

“(Today) I learned that anybody could be a president. Women, back in the day, they couldn’t vote,” her student Janaya noted. 

So have no doubts about the kids: on Wednesday's historic afternoon, they were listening, watching and learning. 

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