Dayton area students and residents felt like walking in the March for Life put them on the right side of history.
Around 50 or so students, along with parents and chaperones, from Chaminade Julienne and Carroll High School participated in the march that was expected to draw tens of thousands of people to Washington, D.C. on Friday. Around 56 students, staff and faculty from the University of Dayton also participated in the 44th annual march.
“With some of the students there’s a lot of wide-eyed wonderment,” said Karen Emmerich, a religion teacher at Chaminade Julienne. “I tell the students to turn around and take a look at the sea of people that are here.”
Students said they didn’t realize how big the march actually was until they walked in it themselves. It gave some of them a new appreciation for activism and the planning that went into it.
For the parents and educators who accompanied them, they said it was a unique opportunity to teach outside the classroom.
“I walk it with the students,” Emmerich said. “You don’t have too many opportunities to teach students to be advocates but this is one of them.”
Students also got the chance to meet with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Troy and state Rep. Stephen Huffman, a Tipp City Republican.
This year’s march was the third in a row for Maia Wagner, a student at Chaminade Julienne. Wagner said she feels it is her generation’s duty to change opinions on abortion and show people they should not have one.
“I think our job is to carry this on,” Wagner said.
There was a sense of energy among marchers Friday that Clark County Right To Life President Steven Cornett said he hadn’t seen before. Cornett said the enthusiasm was largely due to an appearance by Vice President Mike Pence - the first president or vice president in history to address the march in person.
“This march was especially energetic because of the new administration,” Cornett said.
Kristin Shelley, a Chaminade Julienne student attending the march for the first time, said it left her speechless and humbled.
“To me, it means we are not alone in our way of thinking,” Shelley said. “It’s been a super great experience.”
Students from Chaminade Julienne and Carroll High School in Dayton traveled together to the march on Friday.
Students said there was an overwhelmingly positive attitude among marchers, something they said was a nice change of pace following the d1visive a presidential election. Some people were even running around, “high-fiving” marchers, said Meg Hemmert, a senior at Carroll High School.
“Everyone’s been so positive and I think it’s because it’s something important to defend,” Hemmert said. “Especially with how politics has been over the past year.”
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