It’s been nearly 100 years since the birth of former President Ronald Reagan, and the Gipper is still inspiring lives. What’s surprising is his latest fans weren’t born until after his presidency.
Singers Nick Jonas and Jordin Sparks have joined forces as co-chairs for the National Youth Leadership Committee, a committee comprised of 38 prominent young athletes, musicians and student leaders. Age hasn’t stopped these members from being inspired by the life of the nation’s 40th president – members of the group are all under the age of 25.
According to a press release, the committee is partnering with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and will represent “America's next generation of leaders” at the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, which will kick off in Los Angeles on Feb. 5, 2011, the day before what would have been Reagan’s 100th birthday.
Jonas expressed his pride in being a part of the group. “My father and my family were supporters of Reagan,” he told the AP. Jonas also called Reagan a “personal hero” because of “the way he stood up for causes he believed were right, no matter what.”
Sparks also spoke of Reagan as a model in her career, praising his “optimism” and “graciousness.” According to the Reagan Centennial website, Sparks said that being a part of the committee will enable her to “give back just a fraction of the blessings I’ve received.”
Other recognizable members of the committee include Olympic gold-medalist gymnast Nastia Liukin, Indy car racer Marco Andretti, Olympic swimmer Katie Hoff, recording artist Jordan Pruitt and Chicago White Sox player Ross Wilson.
While a group of influential young people honoring a president’s legacy on his birthday should seem laudable, USA Today’s David Jackson didn’t let his coverage of the committee go without downplaying Reagan’s legacy, calling the 100th anniversary of his birth a “big political event next year (at least for conservatives).”