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Wake County teen heads to inauguration

Posted January 7, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— A Wake Forest Rolesville High School student will be attending President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Holden McLemore, 15, will be attending the Jan. 20 event with other students invited to the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, a five-day program for high school students who have participated in previous political programs for teens like the National Youth Leaders Conference.

“It’s one of the most historic inaugurations ever – the first African-American. I’m glad to be there,” McLemore said.

Local teen to witness inauguration Local teen to witness inauguration

McLemore’s journey to the inauguration began with a 2007 trip to Washington, D.C., when he was chosen for the National Youth Leaders Conference, which gives high school students a chance to meet and interact with lawmakers.

“He loves NASCAR. He loves football. He loves the beach, but politics is a year-round passion,” McLemore’s mother, Lisa McLemore, said.

Even though his parents were supporters of Sen. John McCain, McLemore waited for three hours to see Hilary Clinton when she visited Wake Forest during her campaign for the Democratic nomination.

The teen said he became very interested in politics during the hotly contested 2000 presidential election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

In high school, McLemore is freshman class president.

McLemore said he started to develop a love for politics when he was 8 years old.

“It’s just something I’ve always liked,” McLemore said.

The teen has another connection to politics. His grandmother, Jean Kelly, was the vice-chair of the New Hanover Republican Party during the years that President Ronald Reagan was in office.


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  • leo-nc Jan 8, 2009

    I'd rather see a young person skip a day or two for this than see one quit school to make their living off of Guitar Hero. I'm glad he's going. It will be a historic event whether you like Obama or not. Good for him.

  • carolinagirl965 Jan 8, 2009

    I bet his parents are really proud of him.

  • 37 Jan 8, 2009

    I did not give the proper respect to skipping school. I apologize.

  • NC Reader Jan 8, 2009

    ksh33 -- I totally agree with you. Those young people who can put aside politics and just enjoy the event for its own sake are probably the ones who will be our future leaders one day. I've known several men and women from my high school and college days who were real political wonks. Guess what? They are all in decision-making positions and have the respect of people from different sides of the aisle.

  • ksh33 Jan 8, 2009

    it is sad that we cannot celebrate when a teen is trying to do something positive. If he was snatching wallets or shooting people I could see the negativity, but he is excited about attending a historic moment. He is excited about politics, making a difference and we as adults cannot join him? What a sad state this world is coming too. As an educator, I applaud the efforts and interests of this young man. It seems to me he has ignored party lines and is going to be in the midst of history. At least his mind is open, too bad I cannot say the same for those 2 who posted here. I rather have this as a headline instead of students fights at school making the front pages!

  • NC Reader Jan 8, 2009

    37 -- The article didn't say that the boy had voted for John McCain, just that his parents had. ;)

  • loudnoises Jan 8, 2009

    So a kid is going on a field trip and this makes headlines?

  • 37 Jan 8, 2009

    It takes most people years to make that many bad decisions. He is getting it out of the way early.