Friday, January 20, 2017

Crittenden middle schoolers earn trip to inauguration

Crittenden County Middle School students Kenlee McDaniel (left) and
Kate Keller have earned a trip to Washington, D.C., to witness Friday’s
inauguration of President Donald Trump at the Capitol.

Two local middle schoolers will be among outstanding students from across the United States who will gather in the nation’s capital for the Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit this week.

Kenlee McDaniel and Kate Keller were nominated by Crittenden County teachers, and they were accepted into this unique program that will culminate with the students attending Friday’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.

McDaniel said she has grown to become a supporter of President-Elect Donald Trump and is excited to be there for his swearing in and the other educational opportunities this program will provide. She is especially captured by Trump’s dogged determination.

“He is not a life-long politician, and he doesn't owe anyone anything,” McDaniel said. “It will be beneficial for a businessman to run our country, and it’s a chance for our country to have a fresh start from lifetime politicians.”

This will be the eighth-graders’ first real opportunity to experience the capital. McDaniel has never been there and Keller went as young child but says she remembers nothing about the trip.

“I am super excited,” Keller said. “I am happy Trump won and excited to be able to go to the inauguration, although I am a little nervous going by myself with just Kenlee. But, I am probably more excited than scared.”

During this five-day program, which takes place amid the excitement of the Inauguration of the President of the United States, Summit Scholars will gain a deeper understanding of the history behind the electoral process and the rich traditions surrounding the Presidential Inauguration.

“The Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit will provide students with an opportunity to take part in historic events that coincide with the Inauguration,” said Andrew Potter, the Chief Academic Officer for Envision and the Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit. “Something that is really wonderful about so many young people gathering in Washington, D.C., for this event is that it will provide them a chance to become more familiar with and attuned to the president who will govern our country over the next four years. We certainly hope this will inspire the next generation of U.S. leaders.”

Summit Scholars will be inspired to become change agents while hearing from an unparalleled slate of speakers, including Malala Yousafzai, Gen. Colin Powell, Spike Lee, Abby Wambach, Carly Fiorina, Gov. Martin O’Malley, and more. They will also have a chance to put that inspiration into practice while participating in a Delegations for Change, a simulation where Summit Scholars will work together to create workable solutions to the challenges that their generation and the new administration will face. To further commemorate Inauguration Day, Summit Scholars will attend the exclusive Envision Inaugural Gala, held at a Smithsonian Institution museum.

The two local students were able to select a particular line of interest which will guide their personalized program while in Washington. Keller chose medicine and McDaniel selected women in leadership.

In addition to participating in inaugural events and festivities, students will have the opportunity to explore the numerous historic sites and memorials in our nation’s capital, as well as participate in activities designed to expand their knowledge of democratic principles and the presidential election process.