When President Barack Obama is sworn in for a second term on Jan. 21, two St. Mary’s students will be there to witness the historical event.
Seniors Ebonie Aghahowa and Camila de la Vega will be among 500 students nationwide to participate in the LeadAmerica Presidential Inaugural Leadership Summit, a five-day conference that will include workshops, guest speakers including Gen. Colin Powell, an inaugural ball and the swearing-in of the president.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for these students to represent St. Mary’s at the inauguration,” said St. Mary’s Head of School Grace Cotter Regan. “They will be able to share their experiences with their classmates and teachers.”
Aghahowa will be making her second trip to Washington, D.C. in less than a year, as last summer she participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law & CSI. She conducted a mock trial and visited George Washington and George Mason universities as well as several historic sites.
de la Vega participated in a LeadAmerica business and leadership conference at Babson College last summer. Her group won Best Business Concept in a contest in which students had to conceive a socially responsible company on a $25,000 budget. de la Vega’s role was marketing director, and among her responsibilities was pitching the concept to would-be investors.
Aghahowa and de la Vega are both on the St. Mary’s Mock Trial team coached by social studies teacher Pam Poole, and both are students of Poole.
“Ms. Poole instilled in me a sense of leadership, and that you can be anything once you put your mind to it,” Aghahowa said.
Aghahowa is of Nigerian and Liberian descent, while de la Vega is a Mexican-Bolivian-American, though both were born in the U.S. They are understandably excited at the prospect of witnessing first-hand such an important event in U.S. history.
“This is an amazing opportunity,” said de la Vega, who hopes to study marketing and international business in college. “We have a chance to be part of history.”
“We will be there with the future leaders of our generation,” said Aghahowa, who aspires to be a lawyer and judge.
Aghahowa and de la Vega are trying to raise funds to offset the cost of attending the inauguration, which is approximately $3,000 each. Anyone interested in sponsoring them can send a donation to: St. Mary’s, 35 Tremont St., Lynn, MA 01902, Attn: Pat Gill.