Shelton teen to attend 2017 Presidential Inauguration

Abigail Kelly

Abigail Kelly with her invitation to the Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit.

One Shelton teen will spend most of next week in Washington D.C., not only to see the Presidential Inauguration but also to discuss solutions to world issues among a delegation of other young scholars.

Abigail Kelly, 17, daughter of Shelton residents Shawn and Tina Kelly, will attend the 2017

Inauguration Leadership Summit in Washington DC from Jan. 18 to Jan. 22.

She will not only get to see the President and Vice president sworn into office, she will also collaborate with other scholars on solutions to world issues that will ultimately be presented to the President and Congress.

Abigail, currently a senior at Sacred Heart Academy, will go to Washington DC, as part of a group of high school scholars chosen by Envision, which is an independent learning program that enables students of all ages to explore their interests and gain learning experience beyond the classroom. She will participate with other students in workshops, seminar discussions, and presentations.

She will also collaborate within a delegation of young scholars who will formulate innovative ideas for solutions to 21st century challenges. The children will break up into five different groups: Drones, Clones and Genomes; Curing the Future; Racing Extinction, Imaging Peace; and A Smarter Planet.

According to a fact sheet from the Summit, “Delegations will present their solutions and six outstanding Delegations will be recognized as winners and will receive grants to support their futures. All of the Summit Solutions will be compiled in a Statement Paper, which will be published and sent to POTUS (President of the United States) and to Congress on behalf of Next Generation of Leaders.”

Abigail said she will be in the group working on environmental solutions. She plans to share with her delegation four science projects that she used at science fairs in middle school and high school.

She commented on why she will be presenting her ideas to the environmental group.

“They were original; why not contribute everything I have,” Abigail said.

It is Abigail’s winning attitude and positive spirit that would later motivate her to submit one of those science projects from Sacred Heart Academy to The Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity, winning her a S20,000 scholarship last October.

The science project is entitled “A Method to Minimize Disease in West Africa: The Conversion of Fruit Crops into Ethanol for Disinfectant Use.”

Abigail won an honorable mention in high school for the project, but she later submitted the project along with a feasibility study and won the scholarship, which she will apply to Brown University this September.

At the Summit, Abigail will have the opportunity to listen to and be photographed with one of the speakers. She said she would like to meet Ziauddin Yousafzai. He is the father of Malala Yousafzai, who is a young Pakistani activist for education who was shot by a member of the Taliban.

She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate ever. Malala currently lives in the UK and will be speaking at the Summit via satellite. Her father will also be speaking at the Summit.

Abigail said she was chosen to participate in the Summit after she completed a program called Chase the Race in 2016, which she and 20 other students followed the 2016 Presidential Election as reporters. She later received the invitation to the Summit in Feb. 2016.

Abigail is the third child in the Kelly family to attend the event. Her sisters Amanda and Olivia Kelly both attended the event in 2013. They both had an opportunity to work with other scholars and see the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Abigail said she was 13 in 2013 and had to stay back in the hotel with her parents, but she was also motivated and encouraged by her sisters.

“They made it sound so exciting, interesting, and I just know they had a lot of fun there,” Abigail said. “They got to go to the gala after the Inauguration, which is still part of the itinerary. But it was awesome that they got to be part of something historical.

That summer of 2013, Abigail joined Envision too.

Abigail’s sister Amanda will be attending the college version of the Summit.

Abigail’s mother said that although Abigail is going to the event for free, the family would have to pay for Amanda’s expenses. However, she said Envision generously offered to pay for half the cost of Amanda’s expenses for the family. Amanda is currently a sophomore at Brown University and Olivia graduated from Brown too.

The day of the inauguration, Abigail will also get to go to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and then to the National Mall to witness President-elect Donald Trump take the oath and sworn in office as President of the United States, along with the Mike Pence as the Vice President.

The Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit was first launched in 1985 during the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan. The initial Summit was deemed a huge success and became the foundation for Envision and the prototype for following Presidential Inauguration Leadership

Summits, including the inaugurations of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

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