By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
It is quite the experience when one travels to our nation’s capital and tours Washington D.C. and all of its history. To actually get into the White House is a special feat itself, but to meet the President of the United States of America is a rarity. For one of Tucker County High School 2020 graduates, James “Raine” McCauley, the opportunity presented itself to do just that
While planting trees in Virginia, a representative from the White House called McCauley to extend an invitation on May 24 to attend an address by President Donald Trump given to selected graduates from preschool to college. Though he is unsure how he was selected to participate in this event, he was elated to share the good news with his family and plan the trip to D.C. “I was super honored to be invited and super honored to be able to go for my school and for my state and county, it was a tremendous experience all around,” McCauley recollected. “It was mind blowing,” his mother, Effie McCauley, stated when she found out her son was invited to the White House.
“It was really important for both of us, we were honored to represent the state of West Virginia especially this county and community,” said E. McCauley. She stated her son well represented the state with his West Virginia attire, then added, “To hear his name called and Tucker County HIgh School called in the White House to the President gave me goosebumps, it was incredible.”
Once he arrived at their destination, all attendants were tested for COVID-19 prior to being permitted into the White House. They were escorted into the area where seating was provided several feet apart to maintain social distancing and there waited for President Trump and wife Melania to enter and give his speech. “To every member of the class of 2020, you are the heirs to a proud and righteous legacy,” began President Trump in a feed aired on Facebook. “Your senior year may have been defined by the pandemic, but your future will not be, your future will be defined by the spirit, the heart, and the unity within you,” he continued. “There is no limit to what you can achieve, you will be a tremendous success, and we cannot wait to see how you do,” he added as he encouraged everyone to remain focused on their goals.
Approximately 20 individuals shared this experience with McCauley from various locations. The key notes he said he took from President Trump’s speech was, “To follow your passion and to make America greater than it’s ever been.” E. McCauley added, “It was very surreal and it was just an amazing experience all around.” “I really enjoyed getting to know the other people who were invited there,” she added. E. McCauley commended First Lady Trump’s heartfelt speech as well as her conversation with the youngest daughter of President Trump who recently graduated from Georgetown.
Now that his career is over at TCHS, McCauley will be travelling to Colorado in the late summer to attend Colorado Mountain College to study ski area operations. This just happens to be the college located at the highest elevation in the country which provides a perfect opportunity to follow his dream into the ski industry. To prepare for the next chapter of his education, McCauley took several automotive classes to prepare for the mechanical side of his major. After graduation, he plans to travel but ultimately would like to return to the area. McCauley has been skiing since he was three years old which has led to his love of the sport and setting his sights on making it his career.
In reference to the Coronavirus pandemic, McCauley stated, “No matter the changes or difficulties you go through, just know everything is going to be alright and keep doing what you feel is right in life regardless of what’s going on around you.” E. McCauley said, “True to course, as Tucker County does, everybody pulled together and they put so much work and so much heart and soul and love into putting this together for the kids and the families.” “Just driving into Parsons brought tears to my eyes, it was obvious how much the community takes care of itself,” she added. “I’m so proud to be a part of it.”