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CATA sophomore gets a seat at inauguration

Former Porter Ridge High School Spanish teacher Jessica Garner, the 2010 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, was recognized by President Obama in April of 2010. Michael Anderson, a sophomore at Central Academy of Technology and Arts, also got the see the president first-hand as he attended the 57th Presidential Inauguration held Sunday (Jan. 20, 2013).

Michael Anderson, a sophomore at Central Academy of Technology and Arts, attended the 57th Presidential Inauguration held Sunday (Jan. 20, 2013).

Anderson, an Indian Trail resident who is in the Information Technology Academy, hopes to work in the government someday.

He attended the inauguration through a non-profit program called Close Up and is the only student from North Carolina who will be attending via this program.

There are 2,100 students from across the nation who will be participating in the program.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how that's going to work out and meeting new people," Anderson said.

His entire trip was in jeopardy a few weeks ago when he found out that the organization had run out of scholarship money. Anderson applied for a scholarship and was not sure if he could attend without one. However, the community stepped in to take care of him.

"(I) had a lot of supporters and people who were chipping in," Anderson said.
His mother, Lorri Anderson, was amazed by the support.

"I was amazed that people really just wanted to support something," Lorri said. "Just to support a young person that was trying to do something positive."

Her husband told family and friends about the foundation running out of scholarship money. "They just immediately went online, made the donations and just really wanted to make this happen for him," Lorri said.

"He's so excited and he's nervous, but he really wanted this to happen and he was disappointed when he thought he wound not be able to go," Lorri said.

However, businesses and members of the community ensured his opportunity. "I'm really happy that he's going to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience," Lorri said.

Anderson has visited Washington, D.C. a few times. He has a cousin who works for the government. Last year he visited his cousin and they saw the Pentagon and the Library of Congress among other landmarks. "(That) got my interest in government," Anderson said.

The program includes lectures, workshops, sight-seeing, watching the inauguration, watching the parade and going to a Close Up gala.

Anderson is a good student and active in school and community organizations.

"I just really hope that he comes back and he can continue to give back to this community and the school and his peers," Lorri, his mother, said. "I am very excited and proud of him. He's worked really hard and he's positioned himself so that he's able to participate in something like this and have this experience."

In addition to seeing the inauguration and having a unique view of how federal government runs, the trip also marks another first for Anderson. It will be his first time traveling on an airplane.

"It will be my first time flying," Anderson said. "I'm kind of nervous about it."

--Reprinted with permission from The Enquirer Journal.

Written by: Carolyn Steeves, Enquirer Journal education reporter
Posted: Jan 18, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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