Gibbs to attend inaugurationPublished 2:23am Friday, January 18, 2013
By MONA MOORE
Washington Daily News
A Southside High School senior will attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Danita Gibbs was invited to participate in the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington, D.C. She leaves Saturday for the five-day event.
The conference includes keynote speeches from Condoleezza Rice, a former U.S. secretary of state and national security adviser to the president, and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former NATO supreme allied commander and presidential candidate.
The conference includes a panel discussion that features Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who broke the Watergate story, and veteran journalist Nick Clooney.
Gibbs will then attend the inauguration and go to a black-tie gala in the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The gala will feature flight simulators, dueling DJs and IMAX movies.
Envision EMI, an education company based in Washington, D.C., hosts the conference. The company mentors and honors high-achieving students through the National Young Scholars Program, the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, the National Youth Leadership Forum and the International Scholar Laureate Program, according to its website.
The High School Presidential Inaugural Conference is open to alumni of Envision EMI’s leadership conferences and programs,
Gibbs was invited to the conference because she attended a junior leadership conference in the seventh grade while a student at Chocowinity Middle School. Gibbs’ seventh-grade history teacher, Joyce White, nominated her and then-CMS principal Rick Anderson (now principal of Southside High School) selected her from the pool of nominees.
“He saw something in me in seventh grade,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs’ mother, Brenda Smith, said she has noticed a change in her daughter since she started attending the conferences.
“I think her self-esteem has really just soared since she started attending. It’s been a life-changing experience for her,” Smith said.
Gibbs said the conferences taught her how to be a leader and fed her ambitions to become a lawyer. She is Southside’s student-body vice president, captain of the cheerleading team and a member of Future Business Leaders of America and the Beta Club.
“I try to lead by example,” she said.