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A very special day in Washington

MIKA Ulmet, a year-12 student from Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, was one of only a handful of international school students from China invited to attend the United States Presidential Youth Inauguration Conference in January.

A total of 15,000 middle school to college-age students from the US and abroad gathered to witness the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama. The conference was an intense five-day program packed with enriching activities, including motivational speeches by Al Gore, Colin Powell, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and others who shared life-changing experiences and words of wisdom.

For Ulmet, the highlight of the conference was the inauguration itself. Her first experience of the day was stepping onto the bus at 6:30am and heading to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

"This being the designated base for the day," Mika explained, "the time slipped by so quickly as we trailed onto the people-packed mall. Our excitement peaked as we chanted, 'Obama! Obama! Obama!' To be there at that moment listening to President Obama's swearing-in ceremonial speech was absolutely thrilling.

"The sight of so many people as deeply moved as I was by his words has become deeply ingrained in my heart," she said.

After the inauguration, it was off to the National Air and Space Museum, the site of one of the many inaugural balls being hosted in the capital that night.

"The end of the conference was a sad moment for me," Mika said. "But new friends and memories of the event will continue to stay with me for the rest of my life."


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