Tricounty News

Serbus to attend Inauguration

Jan. 20, 2009, will be a notable date in history when Barack Obama breaks racial barriers and is sworn in as the 44th president. Kimball seventh-grader Ben Serbus is one of the lucky individuals to attend the Inauguration where tickets to the public sold out within minutes. Ben was nominated and accepted to the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference (JrPYIC) two years ago by his fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Herrington. According to the JrPYIC Web site , the program "is designed to educate, motivate and inspire students by giving them a deeper understanding of the electoral history of the United States, as well as their roles in democracy."  After being accepted two years ago, Ben attended a trip to Washington D.C. where Ann Serbus, Ben's mother, says he had a lot of fun. "He saw absolutely every tourist attraction," Ann says. He also stayed overnight at the Smithsonian Institution, she added. This will be Ben's second trip to the Capitol. Ann says he receives yearly invites from the JrPYIC to attend different events. Last year he was invited to attend a trip to Boston, and this summer a trip to Europe. Though Ben doesn't plan to go on those trips, Ann says they made an exception to the Presidential Inauguration because it "was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."  Ann says they signed Ben up a year ago not knowing who would be the winning president. "I think he's very excited, and a little nervous," Ann says.   The JrPYIC is spread over a five-day period with many different events. Day one is an opening night reception. Day two includes keynote speakers such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lance Armstrong, and Al Gore. Day three is an education day where members learn about the voting process and the roles of the president. Day four is Inauguration Day that includes private access to the Smithsonian Institution, a parade, and a private screening of the movie "The Third Monday in October." Day five is a Gala Inaugural Ball. Watch for the outcome of Ben's trip in upcoming weeks.