On Friday, January 20th, around 9:30 am, TGS students had the opportunity to watch the presidential inauguration in the school theater. Middle schoolers, upper schoolers, faculty, and staff watched as Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Students were engaged and alert while watching. Some clapped at times, while others wiped away tears on their Hillary Clinton t-shirts.

Junior Lily Sklar “found the entire affair deeply upsetting.” She said that “prior to the speech, he was introduced by a lot of religious figures, and as a person who believes strongly in the separation of church and state, that irked me greatly. I don’t believe it was a fair representation of the entire country: Three white people in rapid succession talking about how they hope Trump is granted strength by God to serve the country. The nation is not just white and Christian any more, so that bothered me a lot, since I believe in religious equality.”

Senior Chandler Rosson also felt that “there was too much prayer involved because we are trying to keep government and church separated.”

I walked out of the theater along with others among a mostly gloomy crowd. Senior Zakaria Lamri was sitting in the dining hall watching the proceedings on a TV screen as the Trumps and Obamas walked together toward Marine One, which would take the Obamas to St. Andrews Air Force Base and officially mark the end of the Obama Presidency. Lamri was “appalled by the return of evangelical Christianity and the sense of ownership by those who do not fully understand the course that our government must take.”

For senior Jaiveer Katariya, it was hard to process what was happening. He talked about how actually seeing the Inauguration happen was disheartening. “More than anything,” he said, “it made me anxious.”

Sophomore Allen El, by contrast, reported feeling fairly neutral while he watched it. “There were good things and bad things,” he said. El commented on how he “liked how [Trump] tried to unify us. He’s a guy who doesn’t know how to express his feelings, but I enjoyed watching a historic moment.”