Kentlake teen: Obama’s inauguration will be ‘so cool’


  • BY Wire Service
  • Friday, January 16, 2009 1:00am
  • News
Kelly Sutton

Kelly Sutton

Kelly Sutton, a freshman at Kentlake High School, will be attending President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration Jan. 20. The trip is part of the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, which is organized by the Junior National Young Leaders Conference.

The conference is a part of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council programs, which nurture leadership skills in young people across the country. Sutton talked to Kris Hill of the Reporter about what she expects will be a “really cool” experience.

Reporter: How did you become aware of this opportunity?

Sutton: When I was in sixth grade my teacher, nominated me to attend a leadership program. And it was called Junior National Young Leaders Conference. I went to that and I got a letter back about a year later inviting me to this inaugural conference.

Reporter: Why were you interested in attending the inauguration?

Sutton: I thought it was a really, really cool opportunity. I didn’t know what it was, and when I researched it, I found out I would be meeting the president. It sounded like it would be cool to put on my college transcript that I attended the inauguration. And this year is a life-changing and world-changing experience, so I really wanted to attend it.

Reporter: What did you have to do in order to be selected?

Sutton: My sixth-grade teacher just nominated me. I don’t remember being an excellent student. I mean, I am a really good student, but I don’t remember being over the top.

Reporter: How did you find out you would be participating?

Sutton: It was a while ago. It was just in the mail one day and my mom pulled out the letter. It said 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, and she was like, “Oh my gosh, that’s right next door to the president.” She was like, “What did you do?” The letter said, “Go to the inauguration,” and I was like, “What is that?” My mom told me about it and I thought, “Oh my gosh, that is so cool!”

Reporter: What are you most looking forward to doing while in Washington, D.C.?

Sutton: There’s a Web site where you can connect with people and I’m really excited to meet some of these people because I’ve been talking to them for a few months. I think I can understand and know more about what I’m going to see. And I’m also excited to experience history firsthand and be there when Obama gets sworn in. And I get to see (musical performer) Chris Daughtry, which I’m really excited about because I love him. I get to attend the inaugural dance. I’m not really big into wearing dresses, but I figured I would have to wear a formal, so I got this really cute one. I’m really excited to wear it.

Reporter: Tell me about some of the other activities.

Sutton: I’ll be attending the inauguration, the black tie gala ball and the inaugural parade. I ‘ll get to hear Al Gore and Lisa Ling and keynote speakers and senators.

Reporter: Are you getting any extra credit for this trip?

Sutton: In school? No. I asked my teachers about that and they said, “Well, maybe we can have you give a presentation.” I’m pretty sure I might, but as of right now, probably not.

Reporter: Are you missing any school for this?

Sutton: The actual inauguration, I’m going to miss three days. Then my parents planned an extra little trip where I’ll be missing six days of school, so I’ll actually be out for about six days.

Reporter: How are you financing the trip?

Sutton: I went to a bunch of clubs – the Kent Kiwanis, the Covington Kiwanis, the Kent and Covington Rotary clubs, the Kent Lions – and asked for money. I raised about $1,100, and the trip is $2,380. A friend gave me an airline ticket because her dad works for the airline, so I had that covered. I think my mom was paying for the other half of it. We got a letter with a donation from the Kent American Legion. I spoke with my junior high and elementary school PTAs and got some donations.

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