Florida students attending the inauguration teaching a lesson of their own

Inauguration visit
Inauguration visit 03:10

Last Updated Jan 21, 2017 10:05 AM EST

IMMOKALEE, Fla. -- You could tell from the long hugs that this was no ordinary field trip. In fact, for these students from Immokalee High School in Florida, getting a chance to attend the inauguration was one of the greatest opportunities of their lives.

“They were just like, ‘all right, everybody is going!’ And then everybody was like, ‘yeah!’” said one student.

“And everyone was like, ‘man, this is amazing,’” said another.

“Us getting this opportunity is, honestly, a great honor,” said another.

Exactly what you’d expect to hear from Donald Trump fans.

But here’s the twist.

Students from Immokalee, Florida CBS News

“No comment. You have to look at it from a different perspective,” one student said when asked if they support Donald Trump.

Truth is, during the campaign, many students here were scared to death of Mr. Trump. Immokalee is a town of field workers, immigrants. Some legal, some not. 

Many of their children are the dreamers, the very people President Trump has, at times, threatened to evict.

Undocumented immigrants concerned 02:07

“What he says he’ll do is just kind of scary.” “And you never know when you might get that phone call and you say, OK, my friend just got taken away,” the students said.

Which is why, when the non-profit Immokalee Foundation offered to send some of the high school’s best and brightest to the inauguration, there was significant pushback.

“My mom ... She was mad at me. She almost didnt want to let me come,” said Brian Reyes.

Reyes’ parents are both field workers . Up until the morning of the trip he says his mom was still repeating “usted no tiene que ir”, “you don’t have to go.” But Brian and the others kept right on packing and planning to proudly attend.

“Because he will our president. And so whether we like it or not, that’s what he’s going to be,” Reyes said.

Immokalee students at the inauguration CBS News

To some that may sound like surrender, to others, it’s bold and brave. But to the kids from Immokalee, their attendance in Washington D.C. was not a statement of any kind.

This wasn’t about Trump the president, this was about we the people, about coming together to witness, first hand, one of the country’s most defining traditions. 

Adults sometimes think everything has to be about furthering an agenda, so thanks to these young people for reminding us that any civic discourse has to at least begin with civility.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com

  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.