Ahsan Lone watched history happen Tuesday.
Lone, a junior at Northwest Classen High School, said he was glad Principal Tamie Sanders let students watch the inauguration of Barack Obama because it wouldn't have been the same to watch it later on tape. Lone, 16, moved to the United States from Pakistan about six years ago.
"It's the biggest piece of history I've seen in my life. Who doesn't want to see history?" Lone said. "It's a good example of achievement and trying — a perfect example that you can do anything in this country."
Lone said he hopes Obama pulls troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and said he thinks Obama will do a lot for education in the United States as well.
Councilmen join crowd at center
Among those attending an inauguration watch party at the Freedom Center were Ward 4 Councilman Pete White and Ward 7 Councilman Skip Kelly.
The two decided to go to the party during a council meeting earlier in the day.
"I told Skip, I want to go somewhere real, somewhere it really matters." White said. "You can see it on their faces when people walk in here."
Kelly recalled his own experiences protesting as a black student at Oklahoma State University in the early 1970s. Kelly was among 400 students who walked out of school and came to the state Capitol after racial tensions flared on campus. Civil rights leader Clara Luper, who also attended the watch party, helped Kelly and his fellow OSU students, but not before giving them some sage advice.
"She was very instrumental in a lot of us graduating because she told us to go back to school," Kelly said.
OU students, faculty tune in to inauguration
NORMAN — Class schedules on the first day of the University of Oklahoma's spring semester hampered attendance at an inauguration watch party at Gaylord Hall, though not for long.
By 10:30 a.m. — a popular class time at OU — about 25 people were in the building's first floor to watch coverage when the inauguration ceremony began. Within a half hour, though, the lobby had several times that many people, mostly students, listening to President Barack Obama's inauguration speech.
"The end was awesome," said Tulsa freshman Jessica Mitzner. "I can only hope the beginning was just as good."
Catherine Hobbs, an English professor who attended the party from the start, said she watched the inauguration because "I'm very happy with the election's outcome, and this clinches it."
Graduate assistant Marisa Mohi of Edmond said all of her classes are at Gaylord Hall, home of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which made the event location convenient.
"It was an important event, and you want to be able to say where you were when that happened," she said. "And at this inauguration, I was here."
OU watch parties also were scheduled at Meacham Auditorium, Ellison Hall, and at the Honors College, which also had two panel discussions on the inauguration with international scholars.
UCO student calls event extraordinary
EDMOND — University of Central Oklahoma student Joel Burris watched President Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday with wonder in his eyes and hope in his heart.
"It's pretty amazing," said Burris, 21, who said he's of black and East Indian descent. "When I have children, they'll have a role model that's not just an actor or a musician. Anything is possible now."
Burris joined hundreds of UCO students who gathered around campus televisions and filled an auditorium to watch the televised event.
"This is an incredible, extraordinary event," said Matt Corpolongo, 19. "It sends a great message, not only to our country but to the world. This is proof that we are able to lead the world in a better direction."
First-time voter glad to be 'part of this'
EDMOND — University of Central Oklahoma student Charee Craine watched the televised inauguration with pride. As a first-time voter in November, the 19-year-old said she helped bring President Barack Obama to power.
"I'm glad to say I was a part of this," Craine said.
While Craine is black, she said that is not why she voted for Obama, the nation's first black president.
"Whoever can make a difference, if there can be change, that's what was most important," she said.
It will take a nation united to solve America's economic, security and social woes, UCO President Roger Webb told students gathered in an auditorium to watch the events.
"He (Obama) is going to call on all of us to help him solve these problems," Webb said.
Woman sees new era coming
Gwenda Roberts was 2 years old when the sit-in movement began in Oklahoma City.
She didn't struggle with segregation like her parents' generation, but she grew up knowing the barriers she had to overcome as a black woman.
Seeing Barack Obama inaugurated as president Tuesday ushered in a new era, Roberts said.
"Anybody can make it if they play their cards right," Roberts said. "It doesn't matter what color you are. You are human and you are a United States citizen and you can be the president."
Roberts, 52, was among a couple of dozen people who watched the inauguration from the Freedom Center, home of the NAACP Youth Council, which staged sit-ins at lunch counters beginning in the late 1950s to protest segregation.
16-year-old awaits changes in education
Tanasha Tyler wants to go to college, and she thinks President Barack Obama will help others do the same.
Tyler, a 16-year-old junior at Northwest Classen High School, was among students who watched the inauguration Tuesday at the school.
Tyler said she thinks Obama will make positive changes in education and likes his plans to provide more scholarships to students. Tyler said the financial situation of students shouldn't stop them from going to college.
"I think that will help in the long run," she said. "It seems like he really wants to better the education for students."
She said she wasn't sure Obama would win the election even though she wanted him to. She said she thinks people will have more involvement with the president now and she's ready for the changes he'll bring.
Student believes change to come soon
President Barack Obama told people Tuesday that the country will change together.
Northwest Classen High School junior Yasmine Fields, 16, said she believes it.
"That was the best part for me," Fields said.
Fields was among Northwest Classen students who attended an assembly Tuesday to watch the inauguration.
"I was very excited to see it. For me it was kind of important. For one, he's African-American," she said. "He's really one of those people who can change the United States."