Inauguration Day: Federal Way connections to history

Drew Conley is going to witness history next week.

The Christian Faith School sophomore will be in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20 when Barack Obama is sworn in as the next president of the United States.

Drew is one of hundreds of students across the country participating in the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference.

The highlight of the conference will be attending the swearing-in of the new president, as well as attending the same inaugural ball as the Obamas.

"Hopefully I get to met him," Drew said. "That would be awesome. I don't know what I would do."

"You would get a picture," his mom, Karen, interjected.

Drew has long been involved in youth leadership conferences. His alumni status was the reason why he was offered a chance at the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference early last year — before knowing who would win the 2008 presidential election.

"Both candidates bring specific things," Drew said. "I am going to support the president no matter what. I hope he does his best."

Drew spent the summer pushing carts at Fred Meyer to pay for most of the trip. After raising the first $2,800 himself, he asked for sponsors for the remaining amount of money, which he quickly received.

In addition to attending the inauguration, Drew will also be meeting with legislators and touring monuments in Washington, D.C.

He's looking forward to seeing the Jefferson Memorial, the World War II monument and the Washington Monument as well as revisiting others that he saw on his last trip to D.C.

"I am really excited to go," Drew said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It's bigger than me. I represent a lot of people and I want to represent them well."

"We know he's going to come back with amazing stories," his mother added.

Drew flys out to D.C. on Saturday and will return on Wednesday, Jan. 21.

Also ...

Drew isn't the only Federal Way resident attending Obama's inauguration. Judith Oakes will also attend the event.

Oakes only found out for sure that she would be able to go on Monday. Her cousin was a delegate from Virginia and was able to get tickets.

Oakes plans to write about her experience for an upcoming issue of The Mirror.

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