(Courtney Spradlin is traveling to Washington D.C. with the UCA students on Saturday. Follow Courtney's journey to the U.S. Capitol on Twitter @lcdonline, @courtneyism, #UCAPOTUS on Twitter and Instagram. Check www.thecabin.net daily for more reports and a local take on Inauguration 2013.)


A pool of students representing the University of Central Arkansas embark on a historic trip Saturday to Washington D.C.

One of 15, Paige Murphy, had yet to pack Friday, though she has been excited since she learned in December she was in the group chosen to attend the nation’s 57th Presidential Inauguration and the second swearing-in ceremony for President Barack Obama.

The 15 UCA students report to Clear Channel Metroplex Saturday in Little Rock to board buses taking 315 others traveling with the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission.

Now that the hour was near, Murphy said she was also nervous.

“I’m nervous about the Inaugural Ball, the two long bus rides. We’re going to be on our feet a lot but it’s worth it,” she said.

The trip to D.C. will take more than 16 hours by bus.

The students who don’t sleep through the ride will have the opportunity to get to know some of their travel mates, student delegations from Harding University in Searcy, Philander Smith College in Little Rock, and eSTEM High School.

Murphy and her peers were selected among 138 UCA applicants in December.

She said she was surprised to learn she was chosen.

“I applied on a whim because a film friend was telling me about it. I went to apply not necessarily expecting to get picked, but I did. It was a nice surprise,” she said.

Murphy is a senior at UCA majoring in digital filmmaking. Her minor is journalism.

It is her role at The Fountain, a daily newspaper at the school, she believes secured her seat on the trip.

Murphy is assistant editor. She said her assumption is her work with a camera and ability to write and document the trip for UCA “helped” her along in the application process.

“I said I wanted to be able to get an exclusive story for The Fountain because The Fountain has only been around three years now, and I thought it would be cool. We’d write about (the inauguration) anyway, but we could have a member of the team actually go there for footage,” she said.

Murphy said she remembers a trip to D.C. when she was about 6 years old. Only certain scenes from monuments are recalled.

She said she believes she is the first from her family to attend a Presidential Inauguration.

“I’m trying to concentrate on how I am going to cover this as a journalist. I don’t know exactly what we’ll be able to see once we’re there,” said Murphy.

Her other concern - what one wears to an Inaugural Ball.

According to the event’s website, Obama’s inauguration ceremony in 2009 was the largest attendance in history.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)