‘I almost got teary-eyed,’ high school students watch history as Kamala Harris is sworn in as VP

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Young girls and women of color couldn’t help but see themselves in the country’s first female Vice President as she was sworn into office.

While Kamala Harris has a long four years ahead, students at Harpeth Hall High School are excited about her upcoming term.

When Vice President Harris took center stage, for many young women, especially those of color, they saw one thing – hope.

“As a woman of color who really wants to go into politics, it’s really inspirational and it’s also just amazing how she went from senator to Vice President, and it’s just unprecedented, and it makes me really excited,” explained Karis Egly, a freshman at Harpeth Hall.

It’s a moment Egly says she will never forget. She describes the days leading up to the historic day, talking with her father about how her historic win serves as a reminder to go for her goals.

“I almost got teary eyed,” said Egly, “here’s a voice that women of color have needed for a really long time but haven’t gotten.”

Students watched the moment Harris was sworn in inside the school’s gym.

Harpeth Hall, a private institution, has served young women for the past 150 years. Sitting next to fellow classmates, many of them saw the inauguration as a signal that women have endless possibilities.

“To see that Vice President Harris can rise to the power that she has and the position that she has, I think that any woman can do that now,” said Priyanka Chiguluri, a sophomore.

Even though she is not old enough to vote, Chiguluri wants to be a historian and looks forward to taking what she saw on Wednesday and turning it into a lesson of her own.

“In 20 years, I’ll hopefully be teaching this in a history classroom as the day that change was sparked after a time of lots of chaos,” Chiguluri said.

She also picked one word to describe Wednesday’s events – first.

“I would describe today as first. It’s the first time that we’re seeing a woman of color become a vice president for America. It’s the first time we see the potential to have just a different future.”

Educators note the inauguration comes at a critical time, showing how much representation matters.

“The fact that you’ve got a Vice President now sworn in who is of African American and Asian American descendent, who was sworn in by the first Latina judge on the Supreme Court, 100 years after women achieve the right to vote, is just simply amazing,” explained Mary Ellen Puthel, an archivist at Harpeth Hall and professor at Belmont University. “This is a real critical moment for young women both at the high school level and the collegiate level. They’ve got to recognize, and they are recognizing that they are a real active force in the public sphere.”

The hall school has made it a tradition to watch the president’s inauguration every four years. Both Egly and Chiguluri say they hope to one day watch a woman be sworn in as president.

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