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Inaugural experience

December 28, 2004|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown teenager will be front and center for the upcoming presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Mary O'Malley, a junior at Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy, has been selected to participate in the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference from Jan. 16 to 21.

O'Malley, 16, is one of nearly 600 youths from across the country who will participate in the program. Her participation in the National Youth Leadership Conference last summer gained her an invitation for the event, a program that takes place once every four years.

"I'm looking forward to experiencing and going to the actual inauguration," O'Malley said.

To be accepted into the program, a student must be a high school junior or senior with strong leadership skills, have a grade-point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and be recommended by an educator or past program participant.

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In addition to attending public and private inaugural events - the swearing-in of the president of the United States, the Inaugural Parade and a gala black-tie ball - conference participants will meet with members of Congress, national journalists, leading decision-makers, scholars and military leaders, according to the organization's Web site.

Both programs are sponsored by Congressional Youth Leadership Council, which was founded in 1985. It is an independent, nonprofit educational organization whose mission is to foster and inspire young people to achieve their full leadership potential through unique enrichment opportunities.

O'Malley, the daughter of Neil and Rhonda O'Malley of Silk Tree Court in Hagerstown, is on the tennis and lacrosse teams at Mercersburg Academy. She plays flute and piccolo in the school's band and orchestra, belongs to the ski club and Latin club, and is on the yearbook committee.

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