WEST HAVEN – Little did Cameran Tucker know, when he opened an envelope addressed to him from the National Youth Leadership Group last spring, that it would lead to a pair of excursions to Washington, D.C., including attendance at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21.
Mr. Tucker, a junior at Notre Dame High School, was one of only 2,000 students in the nation invited to participate in a four-day leadership forum surrounding the inauguration. The West Haven resident attended workshops and forums on Jan. 20 and 22, primarily on the history of politics or the political process.
“It was very exciting to be a part of the one million people who attended the inauguration,” said Mr. Tucker. “We had to wake up at 3:30 a.m,. so I was almost too tired to be excited at first. But, once we got there, I wasn’t tired anymore. It was so much fun. It’s still hard to believe I witnessed it from close range.”
Guest speakers at the conferences he attended included Condoleeza Rice, who served as the 66th United States Secretary of State from 2005-09 and is now a professor at Stanford University; Retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark; investigative reporter Bob Woodward; and journalist Nick Clooney, the father of actor George Clooney.
Between the conference forums and presentations, Mr. Tucker visited the Smithsonian Institution, the National Mall, and an “All-Star Weekend” concert.
“I am very happy for Cameran that he got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Holy Cross Brother James Branigan Notre Dame president. “Attending the inauguration,n combined with the other activities he attended, created lifetime memories and was a tremendous learning experience.”
Mr. Tucker, who aspires to be a surgeon, first visited Washington this past summer for 10 days as part of the National Youth Leadership Program Medical Forum. While there, he attended several workshops and presentations on new and upcoming medicine practices and visited hospitals.
“That was a great experience also,” he said. “It was very informative and helped confirm what I want my career path to be.”
Mr. Tucker, who will be a captain of the 2013 Notre Dame football team this coming fall, has just started the college decision-making process but has expressed early interest in Dartmouth, University of Maryland and Temple University. He is also active in the school community, serving as president of the Minority Student Union and secretary of the student council.