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Germantown — It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip more than a year in the making and two Germantown High School students couldn’t be more excited.

Junior Nathan Schmidt and sophomore Kellyn Homa are among 31 Wisconsin 4-H students who earned the right to travel to Washington, D.C., to witness President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, Jan. 20.

Accompanied by four chaperones, Washington County 4-H Youth Development Educator Brianna Stapleton Welch said the group left Jan. 17 and will return Jan. 21.

“Preparation for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has spanned over more than a year,” said Welch, who said the national 4-H organization offered 500 tickets to local chapters throughout the country. “The tickets were gone within the hour, which I think is a testament to the fact that our youth really value this kind of opportunity.”

Tours are scheduled throughout the week prior to the inauguration, including tours of the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Newseum and various other landmarks.

A mock election will also be conducted through 4-H, Welch said, in addition to a variety of other leadership and citizenship programming.

“These are the future leaders of our state, of our country,” said Welch. “Not only will this trip offer them a unique chance to grow as leaders and develop skills as potential public servants, but they get to learn about what leadership looks like and what they would like to see in the leaders they follow.”

Each of the participants was encouraged to fundraise throughout the past year, which Schmidt and Homa agreed was a fun and rewarding part of the experience.

“I can’t wait to get there and see D.C. in the context of the inauguration and all the preparation that goes into that,” said Homa, 15, who is club president for the local 4-H chapter. “I think being a good leader is about talking to different people and seeing different perspectives, and I’m excited to learn a lot more on this trip.”

Schmidt will be a first-time visitor to D.C. and said he’s most looking forward to the chance to explore the historical sites.

“I’m really interested to learn more about the business side of things running up to an election, but also cant’ wait to see the Smithsonian,” he said.

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