EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 18, 2013

A ticket to history

Whitter student D.C. bound for presidential inauguration

SALISBURY — When President Barack Obama places his hand on the Lincoln Bible on Monday to take the oath of office for his second term, watching from the National Mall will be 17-year-old Salisbury resident Ryan Silva.

It’s not his love of art that is taking the senior graphic design student at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill to Obama’s public swearing-in.

Rather, it’s the passion for politics he’s had since he was 12 years old that has led to his reserved spot at the festivities as a member of the Presidential Inaugural Conference.

The invitation to the four-day event came because Silva is an alumnus of the Junior National Youth Leaders Conference, nominated as a sixth-grader by his Salisbury Elementary School teacher Elsa Francescone. That nomination represented his first trip to Washington, D.C.

Two years later, Silva was invited to the Presidential Inaugural Conference for Obama’s first swearing-in. However, the cost of the trip, four-day hotel stay and tuxedo for the formal gala was a little beyond his family’s finances at the time, his mother, Paula (Zitzow) Silva said.

But when he got a repeat invitation not long before the November election, Silva’s father, Dan Silva, stepped in to make it possible.

“I’ve said thank you to my father about a million times,” Ryan Silva said. “It’s awesome that I can go. It’s very exciting.”

Silva said his interest in politics started from watching “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” But what began with laughter grew to an understanding and appreciation of the important role politics plays in the everyday life of Americans.

“I started with the ‘Daily Show;’ it’s my favorite program, but then I actually started to watch the real news,” Silva said. “It’s good to know about your government and what’s happening in politics.

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