Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Six South Tampa teens going to Obama inauguration

Cody Crawford, 15, Robinson High School: “How hard was it to get this job?”

Cody Crawford, 15, Robinson High School: “How hard was it to get this job?”

TAMPA — Their eyes light up at the mention of Washington, D.C.

It's not lost on six South Tampa teens how lucky they are to be heading to Washington to participate in the historic inauguration of President-elect Obama on Jan. 20.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Devin Oliver, 16, of Robinson High School. "I'm just so glad to have been chosen."

As the Jim Walter Interbay Boys & Girls Club works to get all the financial pieces into place, Oliver and the other teens wait and hope everything will come together.

Shervin Rassa, the club's director, said the Interbay Club learned just before Christmas that it was one of seven clubs nationwide selected for the trip.

The clubs will be part of the People's Inauguration Project sponsored by the Stafford Foundation, a Christian nonprofit founded by Virginia businessman Earl W. Stafford Sr. The foundation has booked the entire J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington and donated the accommodations for more than 300 people to several community programs, including 50 slots to the national Boys & Girls Club.

"We selected clubs based on financial need, kids who were from the most distressed areas," said Judith J. Pickens, senior vice president of programs and youth club services for the national Boys & Girl's Club.

Then it was up to the club directors to choose whom they were going to send.

Rassa said the decision was difficult because so many of his members have attended the club up through their teens. "We picked kids based on their dedication to the club and community service," he said. "Some of them practically work here."

Jennifer Tran, who was selected, gives tours of the club and counsels younger children.

"They look up to me," she said. "And they come to me for advice." The 16-year-old Plant High School student said she takes her responsibilities seriously.

In front of the younger children "I'm more mature and responsible," she said.

In all, 42 students and eight chaperones from across the country will represent the Boys & Girls Club. Besides Tampa, other clubs sending members are in New Orleans, Arcadia, La., Richmond, Va., Washington, D.C,, Columbus, Ga., and Lanett, Ala.

Corporate sponsors are picking up the travel costs, buying round-trip plane tickets and Amtrak fares. The Stafford Foundation also is providing free tuxedos and gowns for the Youth and Children's Inaugural Balls, haircuts, manicures, a prayer breakfast Sunday, and a luncheon with Martin Luther King III on Monday.

All other expenses such as spending money, business and cold-weather attire and meals are the responsibility of the teens, Pickens said. "So the Boys & Girls Club locations are getting donations for the kids, and others are hoping their communities come out to support their kids in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Tyler Placeres, 16, of Robinson High School is hoping the trip will give him the connections he needs to either own his own shoe store chain — or become a congressman.

"I wish everyone could come with me," he said before laughing at how much he already sounded like a politician.

Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or rmitchell@sptimes.com.



The six local teens selected to go to Washington have some burning questions they would love the new president to answer:

• If you would like to donate, please call the Boys & Girls Club at (813) 875-5771 and ask about the inauguration trip.

Six South Tampa teens going to Obama inauguration 01/11/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 10:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”