Several Stark County residents will attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama Monday.
Two Jackson Township girls will parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day. A GlenOak freshman will hear speeches by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and retired Gen. Wesley Clark. And the Massillon mayor already is rubbing elbows with counterparts from the nation’s largest cities.
President Barack Obama is not the only one having a big weekend. Several Stark County residents will travel to Washington, D.C., during the next three days to take part in some of the dozens of events surrounding the inauguration.
“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said Emily Beuter, who is among the Stark contingent traveling to the inauguration.
Beuter is going as part of the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference, a nonpartisan event.
The GlenOak High School freshman will take part in inaugural activities and events that will enhance her understanding of political strategy, presidential campaigns and elections.
Beuter also will hear speeches from Rice and Clark and will attend a Gala Inaugural Ball.
“I’m really excited to see what they tell us and what their views are,” the 15-year-old Beuter said.
GlenOak High School teacher Larry Snyder nominated Beuter for the National Young Leaders State Conference, making her eligible for the Presidential Inaugural Conference. She is the daughter of Chip and Lori Beuter.
Kathryn Bjornson, a junior, and Alexandra Vaughn, a freshman, of Jackson Township will ride horseback in the Presidential Inauguration Parade as members of the Culver Girls Academy Equestriennes, a 24-member girls mounted unit.
“This is a tremendous opportunity, not only for Ally, but for all the students to be involved in this monumental occasion,” mother Megan Vaughn said. “She is thrilled to have had the opportunity to be selected.”
Vaughn, 15, will lead the Culver contingent down Pennsylvania Avenue as a banner carrier. The group will accompany 58 members of the Culver Military Academy Black Horse Troop. Culver Academy is a college preparatory school in Culver, Ind.
Massillon Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry, a Democrat, planned to take advantage of a complimentary invitation to a U.S. Conference of Mayors, regardless of the election outcome.
“I wanted to meet some seasoned mayors who have gone through the same things we have,” she said from the capitol Thursday, shortly after hearing Vice President Joe Biden address the mayors about gun control. “I signed up before he won and was hoping that if he did win, I would be able to attend both.”
Other Stark residents will make the trek out of pure admiration for Obama.
Brenda Stevens, 55, the director of Multicultural Services at Malone University, will travel on a charter bus with a dozen relatives. Stevens attended Obama’s first inauguration, but was able to only hear the event because she got stuck in a ticket line.
Page 2 of 2 - “I know the crowds won’t be the same as they were before, but for me, a baby boomer growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, the excitement is the same,” she said.
Part of Stevens’ trip will be to visit the new Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument. The inauguration falls on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“It’s a testament to how far we’ve come,” she said about Obama’s reelection. “I’m constantly encouraged that there is hope we’re moving forward. ...This is one of those glimmers of hope.”