Biloxi Government students emotional over Obama victory

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It was the morning after the 2008 presidential election, and the students couldn't wait to find the latest results on their laptop computers.

"What is the magic number of the electoral college that we're looking for?" Effie Clark asked her Government students.

"270," they responded.

Some students even broke their TV curfews on election night.  After all, the Biloxi High students didn't want to miss an exciting moment in U.S. history.

"The headline says it all," Clark said as she held up the front page of the newspaper, that declared Barack Obama the president-elect.

"Who stayed up and watched this?" Clark asked her students, and just about everyone raised their hands.

"It's going to change the nation, whether it be the first African-American president or possibly a woman being in office," said one student.

And when Obama took the stage in victory, it was a moving experience for some of the students.

"I got woken up by screams from my mom, because she started screaming, 'He won! He's got it in the bag now!'" said one young man.

"It was very emotional," said Biloxi High Senior Eryka Wallace. "I don't know why, but it was, and I did cry."

"I was looking at the TV and saying, 'Oh my God. Oh my goodness!' And my mom started screaming," said Amber Jones.

The election was historic for other reasons. Some seniors voted for the very first time.

"I voted for Barack Obama and my candidate won. So it was kind of a good experience to be able to do that," said Cody Shaffer.

Watching the live history lesson has inspired the students to dream big.

"People might think that they can be whoever they want to be, since he's the first African-American," said Andrea Phang.

And they realize now that their voices can be powerful.

"I thought I was going to be one of those people who wouldn't vote at all. But now I see that voting is very important, that your vote does count," said one young lady.

Effie Clark asked her students, "How many of you wished you could have voted yesterday?"

When all the students raised their hands, she exclaimed, "Praise the Lord!"

They'll be old enough to cast their ballots when the next presidential election rolls around in 2012.