By Hana Al-Henaid
At 11 a.m. last Thursday, Brandon Levin â09 was standing in a line with 5,000 other diehard fans, patiently waiting for the gates to open at 1 p.m.
The line-up for the show included performances by Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, will.i.am,. John Legend, Michael McDonald and Jennifer Hudson. But the 84,000 men, women and children that would eventually pack INVESCO field didnât come thousands upon thousands of miles to see any of these types of celebrities.
This was the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and everyone here came to see Sen. Barack Obama accept the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America.
It all started on Aug. 24 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Col., with a speech by Michelle Obama.
Nestled in among the crowd of ex-presidents, senators, and thousands of delegates sat at least 11 Harvard-Westlake students and alums.
Sam Teller â04, Brandon Levin â09, Tessa Wick â09, Maddy Sprung-Keyser â09, Ben Sprung-Keyser â11, Aiden Brewster â10, and Hannah Rosenberg â11, Sammy McGowen â07, Sam Alper â07 attended the DNC and witnessed everything from Bill Clintonâs speech on Wednesday to conga lines weaving through the crowd before Obamaâs remarks on Thursday.
“Itâs been unbelievable â you canât even imagine the intensity in that room, everyoneâs been going crazy,” Wick said. “I came to the DNC this year because I wanted to see history happening in front of me, and I definitely have.”
One of Levinâs favorite speeches was delivered by former President Clinton.
And although excitement was a major factor for the attendees, the most memorable moments didnât always come from times of complete certainty.
“Before the speech, I was scared he wouldnât advocate unity as much as he needed to or say what needed to be said â but he really did,” Levin said.
As head prefects, Wick and Levin said they were particularly influenced by the leadership qualities Obama demonstrates.
“Nobodyâs a better example of a fantastic leader than Barack Obama. Itâs amazing to even be in his presence. When he walked on the stage, people around me started crying,” Wick said.
“Barack has given me, and hopefully most of the kids at school too, the sense that we can change things for the better. He revolutionized politics and made it more about the belief and hope that people can change,” Levin said.
Alumna Jessica Yellin â89 covered the convention for CNN and Brian Goldsmith â00 is a producer for CBS news and will attend both conventions.