Indy eight grader, essay contest winner gets special send off as she heads to presidential debate

Jade Thomas speaks at her send off Tuesday.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - As the nation gets ready for Wednesday night's presidential debate, a contest has landed an Indiana teenager the rare opportunity to be there as an eyewitness.

"I wrote about the age gap and why it's occurring and how it could be solved," said Jade Thomas is a eighth grader at St. Richard's Episcopal School.

She won a national PBS essay contest, which means she and her mom are flying to Las Vegas to watch the debate.

The school honored the teen Tuesday morning during a special send off.

Thomas recalls being stunned when she learned she had won.

"I was in writing class and my middle division head pulled me out, and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm in trouble.' But I wasn't in trouble," Thomas said. "He said I won a contest and I was like, 'Oh cool. What contest?' I forgot I entered, and then he told me."