Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 1, 2013

Local scholar attends historic inauguration


CROSSVILLE — In January, outstanding high school students from across the United States and around the world took part in a truly American celebration — the inauguration of the president of the United States of America. Among them was Kayde Johnson, the daughter of Kimberly M. Johnson, MD, and the granddaughter of Burl and Lynda Campbell Johnson of Dunlap.

During the five-day program, the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference provided scholars with a deeper understanding of the history behind the electoral process and the rich traditions surround the presidential inauguration.

"The High School Presidential Inaugural Conference provided students with an opportunity to take part in historic events that coincided with the inauguration of the president of the United States," said Marguerite Regan, dean of Academic Affairs for the Presidential Inaugural Conference. "Something that is really wonderful about so many young people gathering in Washington, D.C. for this event is that it provides them a chance to become more familiar with and attuned to the president who will govern the United States over the next four years. We certainly hope it will inspire the next generation of leaders."

High School Inaugural Scholars had an opportunity to interact with historians, political experts and leading decision makers to discuss campaign strategy and presidential politics. For example, Johnson was able to hear a discussion between Bob Woodward, an investigative journalist known for reporting the Watergate scandal; Nick Clooney, actor George Clooney's father; General Wesley Clark, former commanding officer of Allied Command Operations; and Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state under George W. Bush.

"I really enjoyed the discussion panel between Bob Woodward and Nick Clooney," said Johnson, a freshman at Cumberland County High School and a member of the Lady Jets soccer team. "Bob Woodward  spoke so well and Nick Clooney was hilarious! I was able to actually meet Dr. Condoleezza Rice!"

Inaugural Scholars also attended a special viewing party and luncheon where they watched on large screen televisions the grandeur of the inaugural parade, as the president, vice president and their families made their way down Pennsylvania Ave. from the U.S. Capitol Building to the White House. To further commemorate Inauguration Day, scholars attended an exclusive Gala Inaugural Celebration just for them.

For additional information on the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference, visit