Summit High School senior Crystal Nichols recently took part in history - the 57th presidential inauguration. The High School Presidential Inaugural Conference selects one female student and one male student from each state to attend the inauguration in Washington, D.C. Nichols proudly represented the state of Colorado.
"I received a letter which stated: 'Dear Crystal, Congratulations! You have been asked to attend the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference to be held in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23, 2013, at Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center,'" Nichols wrote in an essay about her experience. "At that very moment I was jumping for joy. I knew attending was going to be a phenomenal experience, although I had no idea what exactly to expect."
The High School Presidential Inaugural Conference occurs every four years during the presidential and vice presidential inauguration. During its five-day duration, it includes special events, speeches by keynote speakers and a black tie and gown gala inaugural celebration.
This year's conference featured former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and General Wesley K. Clark. The attending students also met Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, famous for breaking the Watergate story as well as Nick Clooney, father of actor George Clooney.
The conference also included trips to nearby places of interest, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and a concert performed by Allstar Weekend.
"After meeting many successful American people and other high-achieving high school scholars I knew I was going to be in for a phenomenal week," Nichols wrote. "Now reflecting back on the experience, I know I obtained all of the knowledge I could have out of the week. I met other high-achieving high school students as well as successful American people. With all of the wise words and controversial discussions I realized how lucky I am to have been able to attend. It was a phenomenal experience which I would not trade for anything."