California teen holds rare prize — ticket to inauguration

LIVINGSTON, Calif. — In a lot of ways, Izzak Mireles is a typical 13-year-old kid. He plays soccer, likes to listen to music, competes in track and cross country, and has a doting mother.

But Izzak is different from most 13-year-olds.

He's going to the presidential inauguration in January.

The Livingston Middle School eighth-grader got an invitation to Washington, D.C., through People to People, an organization based in Spokane, Wash., that offers educational international travel opportunities to elementary, middle and high school students. As a member of the group for the past couple of years, Izzak has been able to travel to Australia and Europe, learning about cultures and people.

At least 1 million people are expected to turn out for the inauguration Jan. 20. Some crowd estimates range much higher. Tickets to any of the main or peripheral events are both hard to get and expensive. Security is expected to be the tightest it's ever been for a presidential investiture because Obama has received a record number of threats both before and after his election.

Izzak's glad to be going under any conditions. The invitation to the inauguration came as a surprise to both mother and son. But Izzak is excited about going. Not only does he get to see Barack Obama sworn in as president, he also will meet newscaster Tom Brokaw and Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City.

"I'm so proud of him," said his mother, Flora Mireles. "I never thought that he would experience these things so young."

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