Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Obama in the eyes of young people

By Luqman, 13, Chicara, 14, Raskita, 13, and Sabiha, 14
School Reporters, Phoenix High School, London

School Reporters, Phoenix High School, London
Students share their views about Barack Obama on BBC 5Live.

It is the 20 January 2009 and many could argue that this extraordinary day is history in the making, another milestone in black history, the day Obama becomes the president.

Millions of people are gathering in Washington to see history being made by Barack Obama, when he will be sworn in as America's 44th president and its first African American leader.

With over two million people in attendance, the overwhelming crowds will be watching the proceedings on huge video screens.

Since the early hours, people have been camping out in below freezing temperatures, in order to ensure that they are able to witness the inauguration; one of the biggest events in US presidential history.

Washington has an approximate population of 600,000, yet over two million supporters will be there to show their encouragement.

I think Obama will try to fulfil all his promises. It has affected me because he's the first black president and it makes me feel I can do anything if I put my mind to it
Raskita, 13
People all around the world will be watching as Obama swears on the Bible to preserve, protect, and defend the US constitution to the best of his ability; many would hope that this would trigger the start of a more peaceful and economically stable world.

A road which stretches nearly two miles from the capital to the Lincoln Memorial will be open to the public for the first time, in order to cope with the millions of people who will be there today.

The excited buzz in the atmosphere will be in stark contrast to the second inauguration of former president G W Bush, four years ago, when protestors threw objects at the presidential parade resulting in the police suppressing them with pepper spray.

Young perspectives

We all think that Barack Obama will change the United States of America in a positive way. Here are our comments:

Chicara, 14, said: "Obama's a great person, the first black president of America, in his short time he has done a lot, and he will try and do a lot more. He's an inspiration to me."

Luqman, 13, said: "He will understand the problems in Africa and will support the developing countries, as he has a Kenyan background."

Raskita, 13, said: "I think Obama will try to fulfil all his promises. It has affected me because he's the first black president and it makes me feel I can do anything if I put my mind to it."

Sabiha,14, said: "Obama wasn't raised in the richest, most privileged background - yet he's become president. It shows me I can do just the same."

School Reporters, Phoenix High School, London
Luqman records the conversation between London and Kentucky
The American eye

We talked to students at North Middle School in Henderson, Kentucky, this afternoon to grasp a better understanding of the young people's perspective of the historic change in government in the world's most powerful nation.

Gayla, 14, said: "I think he should be president because of the way he presents himself and he has a really good plan for America."

Nikoli, 14, said: "I think that having an African-American president is good for our country because it has never had one before. And we weren't as prejudiced as we used to be."

Jake, 13, said: "I think that it will make America a more diverse country. You don't have to be white to be a president in America."

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MORE YOUNG PERSPECTIVES
Young people around the world have been answering questions about Barack Obama for the BBC website and BBC World Class.

The final countdown

The hectic series of events that will take place today is as follows:

At 1200EST (1700GMT) Barack Obama takes the oath of office, using Abraham Lincoln's inaugural Bible. He will then give his speech.

At 1240EST (1740GMT) during the departure ceremony, Barack Obama will go with former president George Bush and former vice-president Dick Cheney to their helicopter, and then they will leave.

At 1400EST (1900GMT) Obama will lead a parade to the White House which he will watch from a bullet-proof viewing stand between Lafayette Park and the White House.

Winning quote

Many have dreamt about this current day and Obama's hard work has paid off, with his winning speeches being one of his recognised talents.

School Reporters, Phoenix High School, London
James Robbins, BBC World Affairs correspondent, talks to the students
During his speech in defence of woman's rights to choose, on 10 November 2008, Obama said: "Now the ability for a woman to make a decision about how many children to have and when - without interference from the government - is one of the most fundamental freedoms we have," adding "No one should make that decision for a woman and her family but them."

We believe that this quote shows only a small glimpse of how much Obama truly cares for and believes in the rights of his people.

video and audio news
Reporting Obama: Behind the scenes


Our views on Obama as president



SEE ALSO
What does Obama mean to us?
20 Jan 09 |  School Report
Historic moment as Obama sworn in
20 Jan 09 |  Obama inauguration

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