Student gets hot ticket to inauguration

LOS ANGELES Hundreds of thousands of Americans want to be in the nation's capital when President-elect Barack Obama becomes the first African-American president of the United States.

"It's exciting that Barack Obama got elected in. First of all, there is finally a Democrat in after the Bush years. And the fact that he is black is very important to America," said Liz Beek, a fan of President-elect Obama.

"People are perceiving this as a big, historical moment in American history," said Steven Hamilton, another fan of President-elect Obama.

Congressional offices are swamped with calls from constituents requesting tickets. However, with each representative getting just 198 tickets, it will be nearly impossible to meet the demand.

One young student won't have to worry. Jacqueline Mendoza is already guaranteed attendance to the much sought after event.

"I realize how many people would love to have this opportunity to go. And that's why I feel I'm so privileged and honored to witness this historic event," said Mendoza.

The Florence Nightingale Middle School honors student was selected to take part in the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference.

Mendoza almost turned down the opportunity, daunted by the $3,500 she would need to pay her way. It was her teacher who persuaded her to attend. He even donated $1,200 to the cause.

"For me, there was just no question about it. It had to be done and I would do it tomorrow if I had to for a student like her," said David Meyerhof, Florence Nightingale Middle School.

There is another option for those scrambling for inaugural tickets. There is an online auction at now underway. The current bid is $67,000. Organizers are expecting to reach the $80,000 mark.

It is pretty clear Jacqueline Mendoza's hard work in school is paying off. She's on her way to the event of a lifetime.

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