Heading east for the ‘Bama Bash

San Leandrans Sergio Perez and Sarah O’Neal Rush are heading to Washington, D.C., to join millions of others anxious to share in the excitement of the Barack Obama inauguration.

Perez, 17, is taking a few days off from classes at San Leandro High School — where he is a junior — to join three family members for the six-day trip. Perez left Thursday on a flight to Philadelphia; he’ll take a train from there to Virginia, where his family has rented a cabin. They’ll get up early each day to take the train 1 1/2 hours to the capital and sightsee. Then, on Tuesday — inauguration day — Perez expects to be riding the rails by 3 a.m., so he and his family can reach the capital by 5 a.m.

”What an experience,” he said.

Sarah O’Neal Rush is the great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee University, and the first African American to dine in the White House at the invitation of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901. Rush has written about her great-grandfather, and her family legacy. Rush will be the guest of Congresswoman Diane Watson, D-Los Angeles, her first cousin.