Witnessing a presidential inauguration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Bianca Mazzarella has had that experience.
A sophomore at Holy Redeemer High School, Mazzarella, 15, had the opportunity to attend the 58th presidential inauguration Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C. for President Donald Trump.
“It was really incredible to be able to witness history,” she said. “It was all surreal, like you didn’t think it was actually happening and that it was happening in front of you.”
The Pittston resident said she was about a block away from where the inauguration took place, but still managed to get a closer look than most.
“I was thankful I was that close because there were miles (of people) behind me,” she said.
Mazzarella was able to attend the inauguration, thanks to Envision Summit which, according to its website, develops future missional leaders who innovate, establish and strengthen communities of faith in key urban environments.
Envision Summit has its own program called the Envision Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit.
“I went to a camp in fifth grade that was based in D.C. as well, but they have camps all over the country,” she said. “My teacher nominated me when I was in fifth grade and every year they send their members somewhere new.”
While in D.C., Mazzarella and other participants in the program listened to special guest speakers such as Spike Lee, Governor Martin O’Malley, General Colin Powell and more.
She also took part in a simulation where the program participants worked together to create workable solutions to the challenges their generation and the new administration will face.
Mazzarella’s group discussed the wage gap between women and men in leadership roles.
“We decided that when you have an application and you’re applying for a job you have an ID number,” she said. “And then the boss has your ID number, and you know your ID number, and that’s how they distinguish you from other people. The whole point of it is the boss doesn’t see your name, age, race, or gender, just your qualifications and then your wage is set in stone before they meet you.”
After the presentations, Mazzarella and the Envision participants made their way to the inauguration. She admitted she was nervous due to so many differing opinions of Trump.
“There was a lot of pride and a lot of unity, but as I was walking in, there were protesters,” she said. “Some of them were peaceful and didn’t say anything and others that were more contained and were down the street. They were closed off.”
From listening to several key speakers to taking part in a group presentation and witnessing the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Mazzarella said there was much to learn from her trip.
“I learned to be open-minded because people don’t share your opinion, and that’s okay,” she said. “As long as we all come together and be respectful because there were a lot of people there who weren’t respectful, and that’s not right.”