Close Up, the Washington workshop program for middle and high schoolers and teachers, has scored what may be election night's most unusual get: Students in Wasilla, Alaska, and the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park are arriving to study the presidential election. "We sort of a made a special run to get them," says Close Up President Timothy Davis. Some 23 high school students and teachers are here from the town Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, was mayor of. And a similar number from Walther Lutheran High School, not too far from Sen. Barack Obama's home, will be watching the results come in with the Wasilla kids. "They are really eager to watch it," says Davis. "They are really psyched." Davis says that while the students come from towns considered loyal to their political personalities, not every one of the kids is a homer. "They are pretty mixed politically," says Davis.
Close Up attracts thousands of students each year to Washington to participate in their political and governmental academy. The students tour Washington, meet with lawmakers and top aides, and hold workshops. Teachers have a similar, separate schedule. During the next few months, the organization is holding special programs for the election, inauguration, and the new president's first week.