Hedgesville student to get close-up view of inauguration

June 09, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Taylor Williamson is about to begin her freshman year in high school but will have the chance of a lifetime in January when she attends the Congressional Youth Inaugural Conference in Washington, D.C.

Among the events Taylor will attend during the conference are the presidential oath of office, the inaugural parade and one of the inaugural balls, she said. Because Taylor attended a similar conference four years ago, she was a shoo-in for this year's event.

"Only a select few people can go," said the 13-year-old Taylor, who will be a freshman this fall at Hedgesville High School. "I'm very excited."

According to its Web site, participants in the Congressional Youth Leadership Council program represent the upper echelon of today's youth in academic performance and community leadership. The mission, among other things, is to inspire young people to achieve their full leadership potential.


In addition to the festivities surrounding the inauguration, Taylor said she is particularly excited to meet seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who is a scheduled speaker at the conference.

Taylor said she hopes U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., wins the presidency because he has good plans.

"Hillary has been putting him down," she said, referring to the recent Democratic presidential primary races in which Obama won to all but ensure his party's nomination later this year over U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

The conference won't mark the first time Taylor will see a president, she said. About four years ago, when President Bush visited Hedgesville High, she was in the audience.

"It was kind of exciting ... I got to see and hear the president of the United States," Taylor said.

To pay for her trip, which will cost about $2,380, Taylor said she has asked her family and local business owners for donations. Taylor's mother, Renee, will drive her to the conference so she doesn't have to pay plane fare, she said.

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