Silt teen to go to Obama inauguration |

Silt teen to go to Obama inauguration

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SILT, Colorado ” Rehea Diedrich knows three ways to shake the president’s hand.

She’s hoping she just might get to use one of those presidential hand shakes when she goes to President-elect Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration. But she said she might only get to see Obama from a distance.

“I’m actually very honored to go,” she said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Each method involves a standard shake with the right hand and bringing in the left hand to clasp the president’s hand, elbow or arm.

Diedrich, 14, learned about presidential hand-shaking during an etiquette class. Her teacher at The Garden School in New Castle recommended it for her since she’s going to the inauguration as part of over 160 Colorado students with the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference.

“I hope to learn new things ” things about our president and what’s really going to happen,” Diedrich said.

She got an invitation from the presidential youth conference after she participated in a Congressional Youth Leadership Conference at a teacher’s recommendation when she was in sixth grade. Diedrich wasn’t really a big Obama supporter, but now that he’s becoming president, she and her mother, Kelli Carl, have actually come to be pleasantly surprised by some of his views.

“Some of his points of view, like abortion, I’m against that because I don’t think it’s right to kill a baby,” Deidrich said.

But she likes what Obama plans for improving education and reforming the No Child Left Behind Act. Diedrich holds dual citizenship and was adopted at birth from Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico, so immigration is an important issue for her. She supports Obama’s philosophy of increasing border security while increasing the number of legal immigrants that can meet demand for jobs employers can’t fill.

Diedrich once wrote a letter to a senator about immigration in fifth grade letting him know how some students felt anyone would try to cross the border from bad conditions to a better life. But she said she also understands it’s important for people to come here legally.

Her mom says Diedrich has always been a leader and a supporter of the underdog.

As part of the trip from Jan. 17-21, Diedrich and the other students will get to attend “private inaugural conference events and activities such as roundtable discussions with national journalists, meetings with congressional staff, and point/counter point debates with leading political experts, as well as special events with VIPs.” the youth leadership conference’s website says. The event is meant to provide experience and an understanding of history that can’t be found in text books or class rooms.

Students will see the sights in Washington, D.C. and attend a speech by Lance Armstrong and other prominent speakers. They’ll attend Obama’s inauguration, oath of office, and his inaugural address and the inaugural parade.

They’ll also get to go to the exclusive black tie gala inaugural ball, for which Diedrich already has a new dress.

Diedrich looks forward most to seeing Obama in person instead of on television, even if it’s from a distance. Just maybe, she’ll get to shake his hand.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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