Punahou celebrates as alumnus makes history

Carri Morgan
Carri Morgan

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - There was a lot of excitement at Punahou School Tuesday, as graduate Barack Obama rose to the nation's highest office.

From the comfort of her daddy's lap, Sierra Smart, 7, witnesses history in the making.

"All deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness," Obama said while Sierra and her father watched.

"I want her to always remember this," Jim Smart said. "She's been following the election and everything, too, so this is like the payoff."

Hundreds cram into an auditorium at Punahou School to watch alumnus Barack Obama take the oath of office.

"...and will to the best of my ability," Obama said.

It's enough to bring Americans big and small, young and old, to tears.

"In my lifetime, I could not imagine that we would have a President that was born and raised here, but also an African-American," Carri Morgan, Punahou staff member, said. "And to me, that's just incredible."

The students beam with pride, knowing the country's new leader walked the halls of their campus as a member of the Buff 'N Blu class of '79.

"It makes me want to like, it gives me the heebie jeebies 'cause it's telling me I can achieve what I want," Victoria Eliazar, Punahou 8th grader, said.

The crowd bursts into applause as Hawaii's son delivers a speech that inspires.

"The world will be filled with opportunity now for everybody," Morgan said.

"He said we need to get up and dust off our clothes and get to work," Jim Smart said.

Sierra shows off the sign she made for the first family, complete with an American flag.

"I tried to do 50 stars, but I couldn't fit 50," she said. "But I had 13 stripes at least."

"Nice job," this reporter said.