High school band is mixed on Trump but heads to inauguration

Left to Right: Christopher Kenney, 14 – 9th grade Jenna Itani, 15 – 9th grade Jacob Batchelor, 15 – 9th grade Micah Lewis, 15 – 9th grade Abigail Craddock, 14 – 9th grade Andrew Rawlings, 15 – 9th grade

Welcome to the first installment of 100 Days, 100 Voices–a portrait series highlighting diverse voices across Appalachia during the first 100 days of the new administration. It’s fitting to kick off with the Frankfort High School Marching Band as they head to Donald Trump’s Inaugural Parade. It’s the second Inaugural Parade for this band from Mineral County, West Virginia. But, this year is different—or is it? With the country so divided, some bands have refused to march. Others have been criticized—or applauded—for participating.  We wondered how these high school students felt about marching and about where their country is headed.

Micah Buser, 16, Junior

Buser: I think it’s awesome…I’m super excited to see Donald Trump in person. But, what’s really impressive is that there are people in this band who feel very strongly against Donald Trump–and they’re forgetting that–and they’re putting our band first and they’re still going to perform with our band. I think that’s pretty honorable.

Dalton Dyson, 18, Senior 

Dyson: I’m not really deeply conflicted about going to Washington. Even if it was the other candidate, I wouldn’t care. I’d still do it. I would have to salute them either way.

Alexandra Griffith, 16, Sophomore

Griffith: I’m sure there are people who went when Obama was inaugurated that didn’t agree with him. But I think this election year is a lot different because Donald Trump has offended me personally and attacked people that I care about. I just found out that with these first steps taken to repeal Obamacare, that women are not going to be provided forms of contraception anymore like the birth control pill and IUDs. I know people who have to take those and have to have an IUD for medical reasons, not just for contraception. And if they’re not covered, like, they could die. And there are people who have cancer, and they need Obamacare and without paying for their chemotherapy they could die. So, I want common sense to come back and I just want the sense of normalcy to return.

Garrett Grose, 17, Senior 

Grose: Traditional norms are being broken and we need to accommodate for new newer norms that are emerging in this 21st century. Humanity is just trying to move forward every day. The thing about government is that it’s supposed to be representative of the country, the population and everyone’s voices needs to be heard. All these traditional norms that are getting outdated – they don’t need to be set in stone anymore. Government is supposed to represent us.

Hannah Rice, 16, Junior

Rice: I hope it won’t be as bad, because we have to deal with this for four years. We have to deal with this fact. But, if he pushes issues that are going to hurt people, and do all this other stuff and take away basic human rights, I think people should really stand up to that. They need to get educated and get involved. You can’t just let these things happen, and then let things spiral out of control. But I hope that he won’t be as bad as some of us think. Even though I don’t want him in there, I don’t want this country to become bad. I hope it’s not the worst presidency we’ve ever had.

Nicole Nelson, 16, Junior

Nelson: We shouldn’t have to move back in time. One of the biggest fears of our generation is that we don’t want to move back in time. We only want to move forward. I’ve seen kind of a pattern, at least in this area, there’s a lot of supporters of Donald Trump who are older. With this generation gap—we have grown up seeing completely different things than they have seen growing up. I can’t speak for their mindset, but the younger generation, I feel like, as a whole, just wants to not reverse what has already happened. We just want to move forward.

Nikki Cannon, 16, Junior

Cannon: We’ve done a lot in the past years. We’ve allowed gay marriage and we’ve done a lot of great things. I just kind of hope that we can keep moving forward and that we don’t go back…We have Donald for the next four years and may as well just get used to the idea. If you don’t like it…or celebrate if you do.

Christopher Kenney, 14, Freshman

Kenney: I’m not really for or against Trump, but really it’s about the big picture, we’re all doing it for the same cause really. My hopes for President-elect Trump to do for this country? I think coal mining is irrelevant right now because we have newer and better ways, of resources like nuclear energy and thermal energy. I think coal mining is a very inefficient way at this point.

Micah Lewis, 15, Freshman

Lewis: I’m hoping for more jobs, less problems. I’m not sure where to start. But we’re going to have to start somewhere. And we should probably start with our energy because we’re using up all the coal and we need that for more than just cars and stuff like that. So we’re going to need to transition to a different way of energy soon or we’re just going to screw up somewhere along the line.

Jacob Batchelor, 15, Freshman

Batchelor: Some people aren’t for Trump, but I’m one of the people that is for Trump… I wasn’t against Hillary fully, but I was only against her because I’m a hunter and I like my guns. And I believe he’s going to be able to help this country get jobs back in here and get everybody employed instead of the big unemployment rate that we have right now. Another thing I’d like to see President-elect Trump try and help around here—we have a big drug issue and I’d really like to see him somehow try and help that problem because we’re losing thousands of people a year just to drugs, and it’s ridiculous because you don’t need that stuff. It’s just killing you every day.

Jenna Itani, 15, Freshman

Itani: I am kind of a minority in this school. I am not Caucasian or Christian. So I have been afraid before. And I asked my dad should I actually go to the inaugural parade. I actually hope that people won’t get scared from other countries to enter the U.S. I think it is mandatory for them to enter, because it really saves them. Most people in America have roofs over their heads. But people in other countries don’t. So when they come here, there are many opportunities for them to get to jobs.

Abigail Craddock, 14, Freshman

Craddock: I don’t care who it is. But that’s the president. Like that’s just going to be cool…I believe that we need jobs in this country. Good paying jobs, because that’s what’s really going away.

Andrew Rawlings, 15, Freshman 

Rawlings: This election has helped me see that everyone matters, and everyone’s views matter. Everyone’s race, religion–everything matters. I’m not marching for Trump personally, and no matter who would have gotten in I would not be marching for a person. I am marching for my country, our country, and it’s not about the person. I’m personally ecstatic, but I’m also a little cautious.

Sara Brinsfield, 16, Junior 

Brinsfield: You kind of have to see all the sides. There are Republicans that didn’t support Donald Trump, but they are Republican, and there are Democrats that are supporting Bernie, but not Hillary. I think it’s important to know all sides and not just stay to your one side and think that you’re right in every single case.


In ‘100 Days, 100 Voices’ Nancy Andrews presents photographs depicting the diversity of voices across Appalachia. These portraits strive to show the varied faces, passions, issues and opinions from around the region. Interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity. If you have an idea for ‘100 Days, 100 Voices’ please contact Nancy Andrews on Twitter @NancyAndrews or email at nancy.andrews [at] mail.wvu.edu.

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