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Smithsburg teen invited to inauguration

November 16, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

SMITHSBURG -- The closest most people will get to the 2009 presidential inauguration is watching the event on TV.

One local seventh-grader, however, has been offered a close-up view of the action.

Shelby Stotelmyer, 12, a Smithsburg Middle School student, has been invited to attend the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, a five-day event that includes a seat at the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States.

The event also includes a view of the inaugural parade from the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., a keynote speech by Lance Armstrong, trips to monuments on the National Mall and museums, and an Inaugural Ball.

"It's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Shelby said.

Shelby was chosen for the trip because of her high grades - she has a straight-A average in her merit classes.

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She was nominated by her teachers and a past principal.

While Shelby said she would have been happy to attend the inauguration no matter who won the election, she said she was pulling for Barack Obama.

"My cousin is in the Navy, and I like Obama's plan to end the war," Shelby said.

She also said she likes Obama's views on abortion and economic policy.

Her choice of candidates caused some friendly debate at home; both of Shelby's parents supported McCain.

"They don't really agree with me," Shelby said.

Shelby said she also liked Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, however, because Palin has juggled the dual responsibilities of elected office and raising a family.

"She has been a mayor and had to keep up with kids, too," Shelby said.

In order to attend the inaugural conference, Shelby must raise $2,500 to cover her stay.

Shelby's mother, Kris Stotelmyer, said the family has raised only a few hundred dollars so far but plans to send letters to local businesses soon.

She said people interested in donating money for the trip can drop off checks at the Susquehanna Bank branch in Smithsburg, where Shelby has an account for the trip.

Checks should be made out to Shelby Stotelmyer in care of the National Young Scholars Program.

For more information about the program, call 800-781-7185 or go to www.nationalyoungscholars.org.

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