LEICESTER, Mass. — Leicester High School senior Mimi Nguyen enjoyed the opportunity of a lifetime when she attended the presidential inauguration Jan. 21, an event she said has inspired her to action.
As an alumni of the National Youth Leadership Forum, which she attended in Boston over the summer, Nguyen was invited to join other students for the inauguration in Washington, D.C.
Although her own career interests lie more in the medical field than in politics, she wanted to be a part of the momentous occasion.
"I wanted to have that nice feeling that comes with meeting new people and trying great new things," said Nguyen. "I was never really interested in politics, but I did want to understand it more."
As part of the four-day High School Presidential Inauguration Conference, she attended a variety of educational programs, visited museums and heard speeches from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and reporter Bob Woodward.
Rice's speech during the conference left a big impression on Nguyen.
"She said she was never really interested in politics in the beginning, and for a good part of her life she wanted to be a musician," Nguyen said of Rice.
But when Rice changed her major, her parents supported her and eventually she found her way to politics, said Nguyen.
Similarly, though Nguyen hopes to be a pediatrician, she is also open to new opportunities and new adventures.
"She told us to go with our passion, and if it changes, go with the change," said Nguyen.
She also attended the inauguration, where she and thousands of Americans from around the country listened intently to President Barack Obama's inaugural address.
"I thought it was quite nice," said Nguyen, who even in the bitter cold was happy to be in the crowd that day.
"This was a moment where you feel you can be together with all sorts of people, all agreeing to take action for what you believe in," she said. "It inspired me to take more action in the things I do in life, and do things to make change."