HARRISONBURG, Va. — As more than a million people battle for a good spot on the National Mall for the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21, Turner Ashby High School student Anthony Malabad won’t have to worry about where to sit.
As a member of the Presidential Inaugural Conference, Anthony is promised a prime spot to view the inauguration, among a long list of other perks of the five-day event for outstanding students from around the world.
“It all seems pretty exciting. I’ve only seen it in pictures, but I’ll get to see it in person,” said Anthony, 15. “I’m pretty pumped.”
As part of the conference, he will learn about politics and political strategy, attend a black-tie gala, see band Allstar Weekend perform and listen to keynote speakers, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark.
“It is an experience he won’t likely be able to duplicate,” said Anthony’s mother, Melissa Malabad. “He gets to see the government in action; it will be a good educational experience.”
He will also get to witness a panel discussion with journalists Bob Woodward and Nick Clooney, actor George Clooney’s father, following a screening of “All The President’s Men,” which details Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s uncovering of the Watergate scandal.
“This (conference) looked really cool,” said Anthony, who will stay at the National Harbor in Maryland from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23.
Anthony attended a conference in Washington, D.C., in fifth grade for leadership and has since received mailings from the group, which is also putting on the inaugural conference. Although Anthony is nonchalant about receiving a spot at the conference, his good academic standing and involvement in extracurricular activities likely played a part in his invitation.
Anthony’s well-rounded list of activities includes drama club, marching band, debate, French club, Science club and Ruriteens. The TA freshman also enjoys reading, participating in activities at church and listening to music in his spare time.
“I like having stuff to do,” said Anthony, who placed fourth last year in the state geography bee and second in the regional spelling bee.
His mother said it also has to do with his love of learning.
“If he could be a professional student, he probably would,” she said.
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