EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 15, 2009

Local faces at inauguration

Sanborn High senior may meet Obama Saturday

When President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office Tuesday, there will be plenty of Southern New Hampshire faces in the crowd.

It will be the second presidential inauguration for Jill Couillard, but this one is a little different since she helped elect Obama.

"I helped make history and now I get to witness it," the 18-year-old Kingston resident said.

Couillard, a senior at Sanborn Regional High School, will be flying to Washington on Saturday and will participate in the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference held before and after the event on Tuesday. She'll also attend a black-tie ball, where she's hoping to have an opportunity to shake the new president's hand.

Even though this will be Couillard's second inauguration, she says she's more interested in being a leader than getting involved in politics.

"It's more about trying to make my community a better place," Couillard said.

Her visit also will include a debate on the issues, which Couillard said she'll be preparing for during the plane ride.

Her trip to President George W. Bush's second inauguration in 2005 was a bit of a shock. This time, she said, she will be better prepared and hopes to get a better seat at the inauguration. Unfortunately, she was too far away to see Bush at the last inauguration, but saw him the next day while standing in the front row at a concert.

"Now that I'm a senior, I'm hoping I'll have more opportunities to do things," Couillard said.

Hundreds head out from Londonderry High

"We're psyched," said Andrew Soucy, director of music at Londonderry High. "We're nervous."

No question, Soucy — and the 280-piece marching band and color guard — thrive on big occasions. Not too many high school bands can boast they played atop China's Great Wall, as the Londonderry band did last summer. It's hard to compare the Olympics and China to Obama and Washington, D.C. But it's safe to say the Obama inauguration is so big the teens are sweating the practices. They want to make sure they give the new president their best.

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