Tristan Farquharson, 12, sits in his home with items from his January trip to the presidential inauguration. Farquharson was one of about 1,500 middle school students from across the nation invited to attend the conference and inauguration.

Photo by Darian Warden

Tristan Farquharson, 12, sits in his home with items from his January trip to the presidential inauguration. Farquharson was one of about 1,500 middle school students from across the nation invited to attend the conference and inauguration.

M2: CMS seventh-grader returns from presidential inauguration

Craig Middle School seventh-grader Tristan Farquharson may only be 12, but he’s already building an impressive resume of stories and life experiences, including a trip to Washington, D.C., to witness the recent inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Tristan joined nearly 1,500 other middle school students from across the country for a five-day conference surrounding the inauguration in January.

Tristan participated in numerous events and heard from many guest speakers throughout the five days, including Cornell McClellan, the personal trainer to the first family; Michael Waldman, director of speech writing for President Bill Clinton; and Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara P. Bush, daughters of former President George W. Bush.

Conference attendees participated in a mock election as well as a simulation called “My Day in Office.” The group visited Arlington National Cemetery, including its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Kennedy family gravesite, a sobering experience for the Craig 12-year-old.

“There were a lot of headstones,” Tristan said. “But it’s for a good cause.”

Tristan said his favorite day during the trip was the inauguration and a trip to the Smithsonian Museum, where he saw a live bug exhibit and a butterfly house.

“It was really educational and a lot of fun,” he said about the overall experience.

After five days of classes, workshops and sightseeing, the group rounded out its stay with a gala at the Gaylord National Resort in Maryland.

Tristan said the trip underscored in his mind the importance of the democratic process and citizens’ involvement in politics.

“People should be involved in government so they can actually complain if something goes the way they don’t want it to,” he said. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have your say and then you start complaining about stuff. It just doesn’t work that way.”

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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