Students will experience history

Published 12:11 am Sunday, January 18, 2009

As millions of Americans head to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President-elect Barak Obama, two youngsters from Troy are about to experience history first-hand.

Roxanna Nokes

From the Student Government Office to the White House, 13-year-old Roxanna Nokes is conquering it all.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Nokes, a student at Charles Henderson Middle School President, spoke out to the Troy City Schools before uniforms were implemented last year, and now, she will carry that leadership with her to the White House to experience Barack Obama’s historical inauguration into the nation’s highest office.

As part of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, Nokes will join other youth her age from around the country in the nation’s capital this week.

“I’m really excited,” Nokes said. “It’s such and honor, and a lot of people are saying they wish they could go, so I’m really appreciative of the chance to go.”

Nokes first joined the CYLC two years ago, when she was nominated by her sixth grade English teacher.

Then, she had the chance to travel to D.C. with the group, as well, to participate in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference.

But it was not until this year in Obama’s race for president, Nokes said she really began showing an interest in politics.

Unlike many youth though, it wasn’t her support of Obama that drew her interest. It was, actually, quite opposite.

Nokes, though she cannot vote, said she did not like Obama as a presidential candidate, but that is what brought politics to her attention.

“All his scandals and stuff were real interesting,” Nokes said.

But still, she said she is excited to take part in history watching the first black president be sworn into office.

Also in her time there, the group will attend a Gala Inaugural Ball and visit Colin Powell and Al Gore, and perhaps, even Obama.

Mollie Rugg

Mollie Rugg is no stranger to Junior National Young Leaders Conferences.

The Charles Henderson Middle School seventh-grader attended a Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. as a fifth-grader and a conference in Boston as a sixth grader.

As exciting as those conferences were, the 2009 Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington promises to be the opportunity of a lifetime, Rugg said.

“At this conference, we’ll get to attend the Inaugural Ball on Monday night,” she said with a smile. “I already have my dress. Going to the ball is going to be very exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”

Rugg left on Thursday bound for the capital city and, as a Junior National Young Leaders Conference alumnus, she has high expectations for learning and fun.

“I’ve made a lot of friends at the conferences and I’ve learned a lot of things about leadership and about being a good leader,” Rugg said.

The conference will be a six-day fun, learning experience and will include a side trip to Philadelphia.

“I’ve been there before but I’ll enjoy going again,” she said. “Being in Washington during the Inauguration will be very exciting and I’m proud to have the opportunity to go.”

Rugg is an honor student at CHMS and is a member of the band. She plays the flute and French horn and is learning to play the guitar on her own.

Other than music, she enjoys soccer in season and learning all year long.

Her parents are Robert Rugg and Kimberly Rugg.