unedited from may tahoe mt. news
By Kathryn Reed
Getting a ticket to the presidential inauguration usually takes knowing someone or having big bucks. For three South Tahoe Middle School students it just took being high academic achievers and leaders.
Jason Reum, Jack Coolbaugh and Samuel Bray have been invited to the Jan. 20 big show. They all hope to make it to the festivities in Washington even if Barack Obama isn’t elected. (If they were 18, each said that’s who would get their vote.)
The five-day Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference is for a select group from across the country who is alumnus of the Junior National Young Leaders Conference.
“All three of those students are absolutely top notch students who are strong academically and have very good people skills,” Principal Jackie Nelson said. “They will represent South Tahoe Middle school and the community in an excellent manner.”
Coolbaugh, who as an eighth-grader is student body president, said the chance to meet new people is one thing he liked about the previous conference and is what he would look forward to eight months from now.
All of their moms agreed that getting outside of this small town and meeting people from big cities with different backgrounds adds to the experience. Plus, as Barbara Coolbaugh pointed out, Bill Clinton was able to capitalize on the photograph of himself with President John F. Kennedy. A similar photo-op may present itself for this threesome.
None of the boys foresees a future in politics, but all can see benefits of going.
“I don’t think I really want to go into politics. But (the conferences) help me with leadership skills so I could get a good job. You learn more about what’s going on in the country,” Bray said. The seventh-grader is student body treasurer.
Reum, an eighth-grader, said conferences “open you up.” It’s not just about Tahoe anymore.
In addition to the inauguration, as part of the conference the boys will see the parade, attend one of the balls and listen to keynote speaker Lance Armstrong.
All of this does cost money, so the boys are likely to be hitting the trail soon to raise funds for trip.