By Don Tagala, ABS CBN North America Bureau

WASHINGTON, DC – Four young Filipinos were among the 3,600 students selected from the US and from around the world to participate in the Collegiate Presidential Inaugural Conference – a nonpartisan educational event for students, held in Washington, DC every four years to celebrate and experience the US Presidential Inauguration first hand.

Four years ago, 21-year-old Leslie Ching received a similar invitation from the White House but did not make it due to financial reasons.

When she received another invitation this year, she said there was no way she would pass up this opportunity again.

“When I got the letter, it was mailed to my mom, we’re so happy, we’re so excited,” Ching said.

Together with Salve Villarosa, Trina Samson and Anton Reloj, Ching attended a series of conference that offered offered lectures from prominent movers in Washington such as Reverend Jesse Jackson and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“Rice said something that made an impact on me– don’t let anyone choose your passion for you. Follow your dreams no matter what anybody says,” Villarosa said.

All four of them admitted that they’re big fans of President Obama.

“One of the things I like most about Obama is that he is a great communicator, he knows how to talk to people,” Reloj said, “He is one of the best speakers in the world, bar none, and that’s something I want to emulate.”

“He sort of represents that you can be the least likely candidate but you can still succeed, you know you could be the underdog and still come out on top, so everyone sort of looks up to that,” Villarosa added.
More than 16,000 students have attended the Presidential Inaugural Conference since 1985.

These Filipinos say they feel lucky to be part of this once in a lifetime event and witnessed history in the making as Inaugural Scholars.

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