While most of his classmates spent Tuesday morning in school, Camdenton High School sophomore Samuel AuBuchon, 15, stood in front of the Washington Monument watching President Barack Obama's inauguration.

While most of his classmates spent Tuesday morning in school, Camdenton High School sophomore Samuel AuBuchon, 15, stood in front of the Washington Monument watching President Barack Obama's inauguration.


“I was as close as I could get,” AuBuchon said. “I want to be a history teacher, so it will be cool to tell my students that.”


AuBuchon, accompanied by his mother, Valerie, flew to Washington, D.C. where, from Jan. 17 to 21, he took part in various inauguration activities including the swearing-in, a black-tie gala and a public concert on the National Mall.


AuBuchon said it was “a long process” to get to this point, and it started with one of his middle school counselors.


“When I was a freshman, one of the middle school counselors recommended me for this leadership conference called NYLSC, the National Young Leaders State Conference,” he said.


He said the conference in Washington was part of Congressional Youth Leadership Council, called the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference.


“They sent me an invite,” he said. “I kind of knew I might get one, but I wasn’t for sure.”


At the time, he didn’t even know who he would see be inaugurated because he received the invitation during the summer and had to pay for the trip in advance.


“If you paid, you had to go, even though I didn’t know who was going to win,” he said. “It was cool. You get invited to it, and it’s a once in a lifetime chance.”


The inauguration was one of the last events AuBuchon attended. He went to conferences at the University of Maryland, where he heard speakers such as journalist Lisa Ling, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Vice President Al Gore.


AuBuchon said Tutu’s speech meant the most to him.


“He talked about how God used kids our age to change Israel, and he was telling us how, as kids our age, we can have a big impact in changing the world,” he said. “He impacted me the most, because he’s kind of old, so it was nice hearing it from him.”


On Tuesday, AuBuchon said he and his group left their hotel at 5:30 a.m. to have enough time to get to the National Mall, which he said they had to walk about a mile to reach from the place they were dropped off.


“We were close, but not too close (from the Capitol Building),” he said. “I was in front of the Washington Monument, so I was less than half a mile.”


He said he mostly watched the events on the large video screens set up.


“After they swore in Biden, and it was getting closer to Obama getting sworn in, it was like, ‘Wow. I can’t believe I’m here,’” AuBuchon said.


Later, he and his group watched the Inaugural Parade from Nationals Park and attended the conference’s black-tie gala, which featured the band Daughtry.


AuBuchon and his mother returned Wednesday, and he said every bit was worth it.


“It was definitely worth the money and crowds for the experience,” he said.


Even though, if he could, he would’ve voted for John McCain.


“But Obama is who America voted for, and that’s what God has in store for America,” he said. “He allowed it to happen, so obviously it happened for a reason. It didn’t dampen the moment because it was history. It was still worth it.”


Lake Sun Leader