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Local student headed for Presidential inauguration

CHESTERTOWN - A local college student will soon be witnessing history as it unfolds.

Victoria VanDerwarker, a 2005 North Warren Central School graduate, has been invited to attend the upcoming Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. later this month. Now a Senior at the SUNY Plattsburgh Extension at Adirondack Community College, she'll be attending the Inauguration with roughly 4,000 fellow college students from around the country as part of the University Presidential Inaugural Conference.

Throughout the week leading up to the January 20 inauguration, VanDerwarker will be attending debates and lectures with such well known political power-brokers as Al Gore, Paul Begala and Colin Powell. The trip will then conclude with the official oath of office of President-Elect Barack Obama on the steps of the Capitol.

While tens of thousands of people nationally are seeking to attend but cannot obtain accommodations, VanDerwarker's plans are set and secured.

The importance of the event is not lost on VanDerwarker as she maintains optimistic about the future.

"It is such a historic event-I will get to witness the inauguration of the first African-American U.S. President," she said Sunday. "I think his youth is a real positive-he will bring in new ideas and he has fewer ties with insiders."

VanDerwarker is a semester away from finishing her Bachelors Degree in Business and plans on pursuing an MBA shortly after graduation, she said.

"It is so important to remain aware of what is going on," VanDerwarker said. "What happens in Washington effects everyone's life."

VanDerwarker said that she has no current aspirations to hold public office in the future. Instead, she hopes to contribute to society in the private sector, she said.

Through her personal savings augmented by many contributions from local businesses the roughly $3,000 tuition for the event has been raised.

"I would really like to thank everyone who contributed donations - without them I would never be going to such a historic event," VanDerwarker said. "It is going to be quite an experience."

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