PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland high school senior was shocked Friday to learn that she has a VIP ticket to President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
De’Ontria Mcferson had no idea that her summer internship with the Multnomah County Government would result in such an honor.
“I’ve never had somebody pay this much attention to me,” said the Parkrose High School senior.
The surprise came during the school’s annual Snowball Assembly.
“This is a big deal,” said Parkrose Principal Jared Freeman. “This is really huge.”
Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith delivered the message in person to her summer intern.
“I wanna know if you’ll accompany me to the oath of office ceremony for President Barack Obama!” She said, followed by cheers from the student body.
De’Ontria will be seated behind the president as he’s sworn in on Jan. 21. She’ll also attend the Inaugural Ball, and an event with First Lady Michelle Obama where she’ll put together care packages for military families.
“I know this is an experience of a lifetime, but let me tell you – you’re gonna be working, girlfriend,” said Smith.
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer couldn’t be there in person, but appeared in a video message during the assembly.
“When Commissioner Smith called me and suggested I give one of my special tickets for the ceremony to a very deserving person, I was pleased to help,” he said.
The Portland non-profit agency Work Systems Incorporated is paying for De’Ontria’s airfare and hotel.
“I’m so proud of her. It’s so good,” said De’Ontria’s mother, Leslie Hubbard. “She’s gonna get to meet the first lady. I’m jealous!”
De’Ontria said her internship made her a better, more focused student. She said she can’t imagine what this experience will be like.
“I don’t know. I’m still shocked,” she said.