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Day of history: Teen visits capital to witness inauguration

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Somewhere on the National Mall in Washington, a Franklin teenager watched President Barack Obama get sworn in for his second term.

Katie Curry, 16, was wearing layers of clothing, but it wasn’t enough to keep her warm for the 4½ hours she stood outside.

But the Franklin Community High School sophomore didn’t care. She was watching history in the making, she said.

“It’s the re-election as the first black president, and being able to be in the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where in the past however many presidents have been inaugurated. It was amazing being able to be there and experience it,” Curry said.

She said she was impressed by the detail that went into Monday’s event.

She couldn’t see the faces of the people on stage, including the president and his family, but giant TV screens showed the crowd their reactions and everything that was going on.

“It’s really cool to see the swearing-in on TV, but it’s another thing to see it in person,” she said.

Curry was invited to the inauguration through the Congressional Youth Leadership Council.

The organization has youth leadership conferences nationwide; and having attended a conference, she was invited to attend the inauguration conference.

About 1,900 high school students were invited to the conference, where they have listened to speakers such as Condoleezza Rice and attended political events since Saturday.

At the conference, Curry has learned about the roles of the Cabinet, the roles of the president and the campaigning process.

Some of the information is a refresher on information she already knew, but she was surprised to learn what it takes to run a presidential campaign, she said.

“There are 10 million people helping, like volunteers and stuff like that. And the average campaign costs $300 million. All of the money and people who help, it’s just amazing,” she said.

Curry said she has had an interest in politics for as long as she can remember and decided to get involved in government in second grade.

At age 9, she became the youngest person in Indiana to apply for a grant, which was used to buy plastic benches for the city of Franklin.

Curry’s previous dream was to become president, but after learning how much the campaign would require, she decided to scale her goal back.

“I’ve had this plan in my head to start as a lawyer and work my way all the way up. At one time, it was president; but then I became more realistic. Like, that’s way too expensive,” she said.

“Maybe I’ll campaign for governor or something like that.”

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