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Cold and tired, Estrella and Jaleice opt for indoor viewing

To at least one 11-year-old girl and her friends visiting D.C. today for the inauguration, a seat in front of a television in the Rayburn House Office Building trumped seeing the swearing-in live outside in the cold.

You’ll remember Estrella Seals, the girl from Cherokee Heights Elementary on St. Paul’s West Side, and her companion, Robbinsdale Cooper High School junior Jaleice Johnson. They wrote essays that earned them a free trip to D.C. to see the inauguration. MinnPost ran their story Friday.

So, what DID they see today?

“A lot of people, a whole lot of people,’’ their chaperone Titilayo “Titi” Bediako said via cell phone from D.C. about 5 p.m. Eastern time. “It was freezing out there,” she added, sounding exhausted after a day that had the trio on the Capitol Mall about 5:15 a.m.

By about 9 a.m., they were dragging and shivering. And Estrella? “She was clearly miserable, thought her toes would fall off.’’ Bediako said.

So they headed indoors to warmth and refreshment provided for Minnesotans by the Minnesota congressional delegation.

Once inside, they stayed to watch the Inaugural proceedings.

As for the girls, by now back in their D.C. accommodations, they couldn’t come to the phone. Both were sound asleep.

But, their Washington tour doesn’t end till Saturday, so there’s plenty more to see and do, and time for the mercury to rise.

Bediako — executive director of the Minneapolis-based We Win Institute, which sponsored the Black Excellence contest the girls won — would have said more. Only her phone clicked off, and subsequent efforts to reconnect failed. The D.C. area experienced cell phone problems today.

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