Baker students to witness presidential inauguration

On Jan. 20, Ryan Sparkes and William Skinner will witness Barack Obama taking the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States.

Both Baker High School students, the two are part of a delegation of students attending the 2009 Presidential Youth Leadership Conference, sponsored by LeadAmerica. The conference is held in Washington, DC during the Presidential Inauguration.

"I think the most exciting thing about this opportunity is the chance to witness such an historic Presidential Inauguration," Sparkes said.

As part of the Presidential Youth Leadership Conference, Sparkes and Skinner will be among 400 presidential scholars attending briefings with military and intelligence officers, as well as government and agency officials to learn how each is affected by the new administration. They will meet with a senior political strategist, receive an inside analysis of the 2008 election and participate in a presidential simulation that includes assembling a transition team, selecting the cabinet and determining key policy initiatives.

Sparkes said the conference will feature speakers such as Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, journalist Lisa Ling, human rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Secretary of State General Colin Powell and Former Vice President Al Gore.

"All this learning builds up to the day of the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, followed by an Inaugural Ball that evening," Sparkes said.

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