Millions of people will watch on television Monday as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are inaugurated for their second term, but one Effingham County High School student will witness it in-person.
ECHS freshman Alyssa Livingston was chosen to attend the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington, D.C. Along with attending the inauguration on the National Mall, she will take part in several other activities during the five-day conference.
“I definitely appreciate (the opportunity),” Livingston said. “I’m very excited.”
Livingston was selected for the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference as an alumna of the Junior National Young Leaders Conference. She attended the JrNYLC in Washington as a seventh-grader after being nominated by her sixth-grade science teacher at South Effingham Middle School, Dawn Parker.
“I’m very thankful she did that,” Livingston said.
“I could tell from the beginning of the school year that Alyssa had a bright future ahead of her,” Parker said. “She had good grades and showed amazing leadership skills in class by helping me organize and set up labs and by also helping her fellow students who were having trouble with understanding any part of the lesson.”
Livingston has continued to do that in high school. Along with being a good student, she is active on campus as an ROTC flight commander and a member of the band.
She will join other student leaders from around the country for the Inaugural Conference, where they will have group discussions on subjects such as political campaign strategies, the President’s cabinet and the many roles of the President. They also will hear from two influential keynote speakers: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe and NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark.
The students will visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum prior to attending the oath of office and inaugural address. The conference will conclude with a black tie-optional gala with music and dancing.
Livingston thinks the conference will be an invaluable experience, especially since she plans to pursue a career in government.
“I’m really interested in government and want to go to work for the CIA,” Livingston said.
“Alyssa is such a sweet young lady and very goal-oriented,” Parker said. “I know that she is going to be successful in whatever she decides to do in life.”
Livingston thanked her parents Kris and Tonya Livingston, grandparents Bruce and Robin Crosby and aunt and uncle Jim and Sherry Youmans for sponsoring her to attend the conference. Alyssa and Tonya will depart this morning on the roughly 600-mile drive from their home in Guyton to the nation’s capitol, and Mrs. Livingston will make the round-trip again to bring her daughter home from the conference.
“We’re really proud of her,” Tonya Livingston said. “We’re really blessed.”