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Youth and Education News
Cibola student soaks up inauguration experience
Condensed by Native Village

Arizona: Jesse-Manuel Begay stood among hundreds of thousands of people on the National Mall as President Barack Obama took the ceremonial oath of office.

"I would have expected that many people because, you know, it's the presidential inauguration. But man, it was overpowering," said Begay, 18, a senior at Cibola High School.

Begay, 18, is a member of the Cocopah Indian Tribe and resident of the north Cocopah reservation. He said attending the inauguration was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"It was phenomenal."

Begay had been in D.C. for the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference. The conference included workshops, a gala, a screening and panel discussion of "All the President's Men." The keynote speakers were former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

This is Begay's second trip to D.C. His first visited in 2010 when he attended the National Youth Leadership Conference. Being an alumnus of that program allowed him to be invited back to D.C. this year.

Begay, a multi-instrument musician and honor student, is in the top 10% of his class. He will attend the University of Arizona in the fall and plans to become a doctor.

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