Jude Ikponmwonba, junior at Early College High School, is looking forward to visiting the world of politics in a big way this month.
Ikponmwonba was selected to attend the 8th High School Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington, D.C. He will be one of 1,900 high school students from around the nation selected to attend.
“I was excited to be selected,” said Ikponmwonba. “It’s a small town here. To get to go Washington, D.C. will be a new experience for me.”
During the five-day conference, Ikponmwonba will participate in a series of workshops that explore the presidency and presidential campaigns. There will also be multiple opportunities for students to interact with historians, political experts and decision makers.
“I’m really looking forward to the question and answer sessions,” said Ikponmwonba. “We get to meet with Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State, and other officials. I’ve already submitted my questions.”
Keynote speakers at the conference include Rice and Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander.
In addition, students will attend a special viewing party and luncheon. During the celebration, they’ll see all of the action from the inaugural parade and 57th Presidential Inauguration.
Ikponmwonba hopes that this unique opportunity allows him to continue his interest in politics by gaining more information on the topic, he said. He’s also looking to collaborate with the other students and develop friendships.
Students were selected based on their grade point average and recommendations. He was encouraged to submit his application as part of his participation in National Honor Society.
Ikponmwonba wasn’t the only one ecstatic to hear of his selection. Campus administrators and students offered their support when notified of his prestigious honor.
“It’s exciting that one of our ECHS students is going to be a part of the inaugural experience,” said Angel Paxton, principal and ECHS. “It’s an experience that not everyone will have. For Jude to be chosen, it’s going to be a mark of greatness for not just him but for ECHS.”
The conference is held once every four years in conjunction with the formal Inauguration of the President and Vice President of the United States. The inaugural gathering will take place from Jan. 19 to Jan 23.