BCS students in nation’s capital for inauguration

Published 10:38 pm Sunday, January 18, 2009

By Staff
Will witness Obama’s swearing-in Tuesday
Lifestyles &Features Editor
Two Beaufort County Schools students are enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime while attending inaugural activities honoring President-elect Barack Obama.
Charon Spencer, a freshman at Washington High School, and Justin Montana, a senior at Northside High School, are in Washington, D.C. for several days as part of the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, hosted by the National Youth Leadership Forum.
For Montana, the 18-year-old son of Charles Rhodes and Donna Montana, it’s a chance to see history in the making.
Both young men became involved in the National Youth Leadership Forum while attending past conferences. Montana took part in a two-week program on medicine at Georgetown University during the summer of 2007, and Spencer attended a leadership conference in South Carolina while a student at P.S. Jones Middle School.
That involvement qualified them as applicants to the inaugural conference. They received their acceptance letters several months ago.
Both pointed out that they had no idea who the next president was going to be at the time they applied.
Spencer said he isn’t particularly a big fan of politics but he did follow the election.
As PYIC scholars, Spencer and Montana will have the opportunity to interact with a presidential candidate, congressional staff members and political experts. Among those expected to be on hand are former Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell and former Vice President Al Gore.
The students will view the inaugural ceremony and parade and will attend a Black Tie Gala Inaugural Ball. Their agenda over the next few days also includes roundtable discussions, debates and a tour of the nation’s capital.
For Spencer, highlights of the trip include the flight to Washington — “I’m just ecstatic … I’ve never flown by myself,” he said — and the chance to meet other young people from across the nation.
Montana, who plans to study criminal justice and forensic science at East Carolina University, said he’s looking forward to seeing the Secret Service in action during the inaugural celebration. He plans to share his experience with classmates upon his return.