Locals awed by Obama address

By Helen Murphy    

GUYSBOROUGH – It wasn't a far-away trip, but it was still a trip of a lifetime for three local residents who attended Barack Obama's address in Halifax on Nov. 13.

The 44th president of the United States spoke at the Scotiabank Centre for "A Conversation With Barack Obama," presented by the N.S. Co-operative Council to help celebrate their 70th anniversary. Tickets sold out in 21 minutes.

Alicia Clyke, a Grade 12 student at Guysborough Academy, was one of the fortunate few who received a free ticket.

He talked about "coming from nothing and getting to where he is today," Clyke, who plans to pursue a career in social work, told The Journal Monday. She also welcomed this remarks about mental health stresses and mechanisms to deal with them.

"Everyone was just in awe, clapping all the time."

Clyke's ticket was made available through Juanita Byard of the Black Educators Association.

Guysborough native and Grade 10 Antigonish student Bethany Pelley was among 100 young people selected to attend through the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute in Halifax's "Future Leaders" initiative.

Bethany's aunt, Tonya Pelley of Guysborough, had planned to take Bethany to the event and wait outside to pick her up later, as she didn't have her own ticket. However one was made available for Tonya to be Bethany's chaperone for the event, so the three attended together, five rows back from the stage.

Tonya told The Journal that Obama mesmerized the crowd with his heartfelt and often funny address.

"When he spoke, we listened," she said.