Ms. Hutchens Goes to Washington
By Matt Mitterhoff ‘16
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 02:02
Helen Hutchens ’15 won tickets to the Presidential inauguration and to the Inaugural Ball along with prize money of $1,000 through a contest run by Lafayette’s 2012 election night coverage, “50 States of Grey.”
This contest required participants to predict thirty federal legislative and executive races from prevalent battleground states, such as Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Arizona. The states were picked by student political minds Cameron Roche ‘13 and Kirk Massie ‘15, leaders in the election night broadcast. Around 250 people entered the competition.
A Lafayette graduate, Peter Jacoby ‘81, who is now vice president of federal relations at AT&T, donated the tickets, and the prize money came from the budget of the “50 States of Grey” broadcast.
The contest began in 2008, said Policy Studies and Economics Professor Mark Crain, who was the faculty mastermind behind the 2012 broadcast. He said the faculty in charge of the 2008 broadcast wanted “a way to get student’s involved before the election, to be thinking about all the things that go into [a political race].”
Hutchens, along with the help of her brother, Mark Hutchens, a high school student in Lancaster County, Pa. correctly guessed the most House, Senate, and Electoral College races, only missing four races out of the thirty in the contest.
Helen said that the prize money went to the financing of her trip, renting her brother a tuxedo, and sightseeing on the Nation’s Capital. The rest of the money will be going towards her adventures in Europe, which she leaves for in two weeks.
The Hutchens’ family drove up the morning of the Inauguration from their home in Pennsylvania. Arriving about four and a half hours before the start of the inauguration, they travelled on the Metro, the Washington D.C. subway system, and found the seats provided to them by Mr. Jacoby to be impressively superior to other people’s seats. They watched as politicians and celebrities stepped out onto the steps of the Capitol, including former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and his family, Republican Vice Presidential Candidate and Senator Paul Ryan, and Beyoncé, who was there to sing the National Anthem.
Hutchens said her favorite part of the Inauguration was the poem read and written by Richard Blanco, “One Today.”
“Blanco did a beautiful job of summing up my feeling about America,” Hutchens said. “It does not matter which party you are in or where you live. I can only hope that this country can create unity as everyone prayed for at the inauguration.”
That night Helen and her brother travelled to the Convention Center in downtown D.C., where the Inaugural Ball was held. As they entered the Convention Center and got through security, they walked in on Katy Perry singing “Firework” on a stage only a couple feet in front of them. Throughout the night, more artists, such as Smokey Robinson, Alicia Keys, and Jamie Foxx, came on stage to sing songs in honor of the reelected president.
As the evening went on, Helen and her brother watched the Obama and Biden couples dance, as camera bulb flashes illuminated the Convention Center. They also met up with Jacoby.
A mechanical engineering major, Hutchens was appreciative of Jacoby’s contributions. “Mark and I would like to thank him for a wonderful experience and a day that we will never forget.”