Taylor Jones, the daughter of Pamela Jones, says the ceremony is part of a five-day Presidential Inaugural Leadership Summit, sponsored by LeadAmerica, a youth education organization based in Vienna, Va., close to the nation’s capital.
“I came home from visiting friends on Nov. 17,” Taylor says, “and there was the letter. All I can say is, ‘WOW!’”
At the summit, Taylor, a straight-A student, not only will attend the inaugural on the National Mall but also will hear retired Gen. Colin Powell make the summit’s keynote address.
During the event, Taylor will choose among numerous workshops to attend whose subjects range from “Landing that Internship” to global poverty to the role of art in social change to health care to starting a business in the developing world to “Could You Be a Spy?”
Taylor, a mixture of high scholarship and responsibility, also is a teenage girl worried about what to wear.
“Every time she opens her mouth,” her mother laments, “I see dollar signs coming out of it.”
Pamela, who has worked for the past dozen years at the Garza East Unit, is both proud and apprehensive about the trip.
“You get excited for your child, and then you get worried, and then you get excited.”
The trip, she estimates, is going to cost around $4,000.
In the middle of the trip planning, Pamela notes, is Christmas. Then, four days later, Taylor turns 18.
So next Tuesday, Dec. 4, friends have organized a fundraiser — a benefit barbecue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bethlehem Baptist Church.
“There’s going to be barbecued chicken, rice, potato salad, bread, pickles, onions and jalapenos,” Pamela says.
Cost is $6 a plate; baked goods also will be for sale.
“Oh, I also get to attend a LeadAmerica inaugural ball,” Taylor says, looking at the fine print on the invitation. “Mom, I’m going to need a new dress for the ball.”
She pauses for a moment, then asks, “Mom, can you go with me?”
“If I do,” Pamela responds, “I’ll have to stay at the airport for five days.”
Pamela recognizes the obvious benefits and opportunities with her daughter’s trip.
In addition to the workshops and the inauguration festivities, she and her colleagues will visit national monuments.
“I’m really pretty excited,” Pamela justifiably says. “But Washington, D.C., seems pretty far away.
“But,” Pamela is quick to add, “she’s going to be just fine. Our family’s always been Bible fed and spirit led.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.