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Practice Makes Perfect for Sixth Grade Group

(15903 Somerville Drive ) -- At the Shady Grove metro station, 6:50 a.m.

Seven children, representing the entire sixth grade at Garfield Elementary School in Eureka, Calif., waited inside the Shady Grove Metro station as their teacher bought fare cards. They had arrived Saturday and are staying at a Comfort Inn. They were impressively bundled; "I'm a marshmallow," said Gabe Hewitt, 11. They wore matching hats, yellow and green.

"We've been practicing staying together and holding on to each other," said Loretta Eckenrode, the teacher.

The group's fortunes rose at 10 p.m. Monday when Sen. Feinstein's office came through with tickets to the ceremony.

"They asked, 'Can we shake his hand?'" Eckenrode said.

Outside the station, hawkers proliferated: T-shirts, posters, hand-warmers, donuts. A man wrestled with a 10-foot, inflatable Lady Liberty in the back of a pickup.

-- Daniel deVise

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 7:26 AM ET
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