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Eight GMC students attending inauguration

Eight GMC students attending inauguration By Jonathan Jackson, jjackson@unionrecorder.com As an historic event takes shape in Washington, D.C., eight students from Georgia Military College Prep School are making plans to attend the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama. The country’s first African-American president will be sworn in Tuesday around 11:30 a.m. in expected frigid weather in an event that will radiate throughout the world community as the U.S. presidential election has been viewed as a global event. Eight GMC students will see it happen. “It is absolutely thrilling for me to be the principal of a school where we have such students who’ve been asked to attend an event of such magnitude,” GMC Prep School Principal Col. John Thornton said. “For students from this school to be part of a new beginning for this country is absolutely thrilling to me.” John Austin Vance, Taey Wright, Colby Pennington, Sean Tighe, Kevin Kotrick, Ayres Wimberly, Delarrion Milner and Jamarcus Jarrett all left for Washington, D.C. Friday in preparation for a busy weekend and, of course, the inauguration. Vance, Wright, Pennington and Tighe will all be attending the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference as part of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council. While at the conference, the four students will hear from keynote speakers former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Prize recipient Al Gore and former U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell. Thornton believes that the observance of American history in the making at a pivotal time will benefit the students. “I’ve been fortunate enough seeing one president in person,” Thornton said. “For these eight students to be able to usher in a new beginning for America is exciting for them and for all of us here at GMC.” On inauguration day, the students will have private access to the Smithsonian Institute on the National Mall and will witness the inauguration, oath of office and inaugural address of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. The group will then witness the inaugural parade including the motorcades of both the president and vice president from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. In addition, the students will be able to visit the National Mall’s monuments and museums. Capping the event will be a Black Tie Gala Inaugural Ball bringing the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference to an end. “I’ve been to a lot of conferences, but now I’ll be able to go back and tell people that I witnessed this historic event,” Pennington said Wednesday. Pennington was nominated for the Congressional Youth Leadership Council in seventh grade and attended a junior conference. John Austin Vance was nominated while in ninth grade to join the Congressional Youth Leadership Council to attend the state conference. “I’ve been to conferences, but I had no idea that I would ever be able to see a presidential inauguration in person,” Vance said. “I think that this conference will have a lot more to offer.” Kevin Kotrick will be attending the inauguration through the Presidential Classroom program. Ayres Wimberly will go as part of the People to People Student Ambassador Program. Delarrion Milner and Jamarcus Jarrett will attend with their families. Pictured, front to back, left to right: Jamarcus Jarrett, Delarrion Milner, Sean Tighe, Ayres Wimberly, Colby Pennington, John Austin Vance, Taey Wright and Kevin Kotrick.