Apple CEO, parents of slain girl are among First Lady's guests at SOTU

9 On Your Side and WCPO Digital will host a LIVE chat during the State of the Union with government and politics reporter Kevin Osborne.

Among the guests sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama at Tuesday's State of the Union address will be the parents of a murdered girl who performed at the president's inauguration last month.

Other guests in the First Lady's box include a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the CEO of Apple Inc. and a 23-year-old machinist from Louisville, Ky.

In all, Michele Obama will have 25 guests.

Also sitting there will be Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president's wife; and Valerie Jarrett, one of President Obama's senior advisers.

A Chicago couple, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel Pendleton Sr., are the parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was murdered Jan. 29 when she was shot and killed in a park on Chicago's South Side.

Hadiya had participated in President Obama's public inaugural celebration Jan. 21.  An honor student and band majorette, Hadiya was allegedly killed by two gang members who opened fire in the park, intending to shoot someone else.

The First Lady attended Hadiya's memorial service Feb. 6.

Another guest will be Kaitlin Roig, who has taught first grade for six years at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn. In addition to her teaching, Roig has started a running club called Marathon Mondays for third- and fourth-grade students at Sandy Hook.  She will be running the New York City Marathon this year.

Twenty-seven people were killed and two people were injured at the school in December, when Adam Lanza opened fire with weapons. Lanza eventually took his own life.

Also attending is Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. Before being named CEO in August 2011, Cook was Apple's chief operating officer and was responsible for all of the company's worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple's supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and nations.

Bradley Henning, of Louisville, will also sit in the First Lady's box. Henning, 23, is a machinist at Atlas Machine and Supply.

Henning's high school reportedly has one of the best machining programs in Kentucky, and he got hired as a full-time apprentice shortly after graduation. Henning was invited as an example of jobs available in the manufacturing sector.

Another guest will be Bobak Ferdowsi, also known as NASA's "Mohawk Guy," who is a member of the Mars Curiosity Rover team at NASA and Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

After the successful landing of the Curiosity Rover in August, President Obama called to congratulate the team on its success, and singled out Bobak for his unique haircut that became a viral sensation on the Internet.

Bobak is an Iranian-American and a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professional who, in addition to his work on the Mars Curiosity mission, volunteers as a robotics mentor to get more boys and girls excited about STEM education.

 

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