A group of Orem High School students will learn first-hand next week about the transfer of power in America when they attend George Bush's inauguration in Washington, D.C.

About 23 Orem students will visit the nation's capital for one week as part of program sponsored by the Washington-based Close-Up Foundation. They leave Sunday and will be on hand when the president-elect is sworn in.This is the second year Orem students have participated in the program, which brings high school students from throughout the nation to Washington for a week of learning about government. The Orem students and others from Roy, Weber, Bonneville, Granite and Skyline High Schools happened to be assigned the week of the presidential inauguration.

Orem history teacher Diane Hemond will accompany her students, and she said there will be a lot for them to look forward to besides the presidential celebration.

"Classroom learning can be kind of boring, but this way they're on site. I think they became more interested in what's going on," she said. "I took two kids last year and it was very valuable. I wouldn't take kids again if I didn't think so."

One of the students who attended last year is going again, and that says something about the program, because the students who go to Washington must either pay the $915 tuition fee themselves or raise the money. But Myron Crandall, a senior, said the trip is worth the effort.

"The trip last year really helped me quite a bit to understand the issues. I am looking at a government career because of it. You learn a lot more about what's happening in the world," he said. "My parents think it's a great educational experience. I learned about different views."

The students will visit a session of the Supreme Court, tour an embassy and learn about government issues from Congressmen on Capital Hill. All of the activities are arranged by the Close-Up Foundation, and Elisa McKay, community coordinator for the organization, said the agenda is intended to keep the students very busy.

"These kids who come to Washington don't just tour; it's more hands-on activities," she said. "It's intended to teach the kids that they have a civic responsibility to be informed, that their opinions matter. We hope they'll take that back and apply it to their communities."

More than 24,000 students from all 50 states participated in the program last year. About 600 Utah students will make the trip this year.

Hemond said it would be nice if all students could participate, but some of them can't raise the money.