RUMFORD – Gregory Ramey often e-mailed Sen. Susan Collins with comments and questions about technology.

That correspondence appears to have paid off.

Ramey, 15, a freshman at Mountain Valley High School, and his parents, Janet and Jay, received three tickets from Collins’ office for the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

“I got the e-mail when I was at school. I had to reread it,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

He called his mother and this coming weekend, the three of them will jump in the family car and head south.

Ramey, who hopes to attend the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, wrote in one e-mail about his wish to attend the school, located in Collins’ home county of Aroostook.

“She’s responded to me before and I thought she would respond again,” he said.

He didn’t know how many people from Maine would attend the inauguration nor how many tickets Collins had to distribute, but he did know he was thrilled to have three of the 230,000 tickets available nationwide for the historic event.

Ramey said an e-mail from a Collins aide said she had received thousands of requests for tickets. As far as he knew, he was the only one from the area who planned to attend. One of his classmates asked for tickets, too, but didn’t get them.

The Rameys will stay with friends in northern Virginia, then ride the train into Washington, D.C.

They were told to get there by 9 a.m. They also received a listing of things not to bring, such as backpacks, umbrellas, strollers, large purses and thermos bottles, and to carry only small snacks. Thousands of National Guard soldiers and Washington, D.C., police will provide security.

Ramey was originally a Hillary Clinton supporter, but had no trouble switching to Obama when he won the nomination.

“He’ll fix the economy and end the war quicker. He’s more in touch with the people,” Ramey said.

Ramey’s social studies teacher, Jarrod Dumas, said he was thrilled that his student would attend the inauguration.

“On my excused absence, he wrote, ‘Have fun,'” Ramey said. He also will be expected to provide his class with a report of what took place.

Ramey was asked by a representative from Fox Morning News to submit a couple of reports on what he sees.

“I had kind of forgotten that he had ever done it. When he got the tickets, oh wow,” said his mother, who is a substitute teacher. “He is a problem-solver.”

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Jay Ramey, who works in tire sales in Auburn. “I’m not really surprised.”

The Rumford youth plans to study finances or consumer protection. He expects to hear this month from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics on whether he has been accepted.


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