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Local student secures inauguration ticket
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It pays to make good grades in school. One of the rewards of being a good student is having the opportunity of a lifetime.
On Tuesday, Jerrica Russaw, 16, of Walthourville will attend the presidential inauguration. Jerrica is an honor roll junior at Liberty County High School. While millions of people are jockeying to get the prized inauguration tickets, Russaw’s is taken care of.
Outstanding high school students from across America will attend the inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States. These young scholars will participate in a five-day program as part of the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference. The conference will provide students with a deeper understanding of the history behind the electoral process and the traditions surrounding the presidential inauguration.
 “The Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference will provide students with an opportunity to take part in historic events that coincide with the Inauguration of the president of the United States,” said Marguerite Regan. Regan serves as dean of academic affairs for the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, the organization that sponsors PYIC.
“Something that is really wonderful about so many young people gathering in Washington, D.C., for this event is that it will provide them a chance to become more familiar with and attuned to the president who will govern our country over the next four years. We certainly hope this will inspire the next generation of U.S. leaders,” Regan said.
 After witnessing the inauguration, Russaw will watch the inaugural parade and attend a black tie inaugural ball. She will participate in roundtable discussions, debates and other activities that will help to expand her knowledge of democratic principles and the presidential election process. Along with the other scholars, she will have the opportunity to explore the numerous historic sites and monuments in our nation’s capital.
 “I feel honored that they asked me. It is a honorable event, especially since it is the first black president,” Russaw said. The inaugural activities are scheduled for Jan. 17-21.
 Her selection as part of the conference stems from her attendance at the 10-day National Youth Leadership Forum at Emory University in Atlanta. Based on her academic record, she attended the 10-day forum in June. Consequently, she was selected to participate in the inaugural conference.
 “We learned a lot about the medical field. I learned how to suture. We looked at cadavers. I never thought I would see something like that. I also learned how to treat patients. You have to show them you are trying to get the best care possible for them,” Russaw said. “The forum broadened my horizon about the medical field. I learned about college life and we lived in a dormitory.”
Russaw describes herself as kind-hearted. She also involved in her school. She is a member of the Interact Club, student council, auxiliary band/Liberty Belle and FBLA.
After high school, Russaw plans to attends college and become a pediatric nurse.
“If I like that, then I can continue and get a doctorate degree,” she said.
Currently, she is planning to attend either Spelman, Emory, Mercer, Georgia Southern, Albany State or Valdosta State.
In addition to her school activities, Russaw is a member of First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Hinesville where Dr. Sinclair Thorne is pastor. She serves as the pastor’s aide, and is on the flag, choir, youth and hospitality ministries.
 Jerrica is the daughter of the Rev. Jerry Russaw and Debra Anderson Russaw. He is a manager with CSX in Atlanta, and her mother is a student support team coordinator of middle and high school students with the Liberty County School System.

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