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March 19, 2009

Blazers to attend White House dinner

by Lucas Alvarado-Farrar, Online Features Editor
This evening, 10 students from Blair will attend a dinner at the White House in a Celebration of Women’s History Month hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. The dinner will feature 25 distinguished female speakers from around the nation.

A total of 12 schools were invited to send 10 female students each to the event. Other Down County Consortium schools were not invited and the names of the other 11 schools were not released to the Blair administration.

Students will arrive at the White House at 5:45 p.m. and will be escorted to the State Floor Residence where they will be given time to mingle. At 6:00 p.m White House Social Secretary, Desiree Rogers, and Deputy Assistant to the President, Jocelyn Frye, will give an "overview" of the evening. From 6:45 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Senior Obama Administration officials as well as the featured presenters will arrive. At 7:00 p.m. all guests will be seated for dinner, which will run until 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m.

The featured women leaders span from all walks of life and all regions of the country. Some of the highlighted guests include singer Alicia Keys, Ambassador Nancy Brinker, General Ann E. Dunwoody, NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, Olympian Dominque Dawes, playwright and poet Sarah Jones and actress Kerry Washington.

After receiving a phone call from Ebs Burnough, Deputy White House Secretary for Social Affairs, Principal Darryl Williams coordinated with Academy Coordinator Vafolay Tulay to select Blair's students. Academy and Department heads from the Athletics Department, the Communication Arts Program, the ESOL Department, the Magnet Program, the Special-Education Department and from each of the five academies nominated three students in preferential order, based on exceptional character, performance and interest.

Williams made the final decisions. In most cases he picked the first choice student, "but other factors were considered including diversity," said Tulay.

Chaperones and drivers are not invited to attend the dinner and will be asked to remain seated in the East Reception Room during the event.

The selected students and their associated department are listed below:
Caitlin O. Ludington, senior (Athletics)
Daphney A. Georges, senior (ESOL)
Darcye Sorinmade, senior (Human Service Professions)
Edith A. Leiva Machado, senior (Entrepreneurship)
Elizabeth E. Porter, senior (Media Literacy)
Jennifer Collins, senior (International Studies)
Karla J. Melendez, senior (Special-Education)
Lilay A. Gebreselassie, senior (Science Mathematics and Technology)
Lindsay J. Brewer, senior (Communication Arts Program)
Urja R. Mittal, junior (Magnet)



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  • A male student on March 19, 2009 at 8:55 PM
    That is freakin' sweet.
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