Big Ambitions from Local Student
Big Ambitions from Local Student
by Danielle M. Angeline
Katie Hutzell is a soft-spoken yet ambitious 11th grader at North Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, MD. This year she is carrying a full class schedule including three AP classes; she plays the clarinet, and recently picked up the oboe, for her high school band. Katie works part-time and is diligently trying to raise tuition funds to participate in the People to People Student Ambassador Program.
People to People has several programs for Student Ambassadors:
Project HOPE- Since its inception in 1958, the mission of Project HOPE has remained unchanged: To provide lasting solutions to global health problems through education and humanitarian assistance. For more than 45 years, the primary goal has been to improve a regions health care capacity through training of health care providers, upgrading of health facilities, and family/community education, so that eventually programs will be sustainable locally and not reliant upon outside assistance. http://www.projecthope.org/
Sister Cities International is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate economic development. http://www.sister-cities.org/sci/whatsnew
Pen Pals- established in 1950 is the largest education pen friend in the world. "Our aim is to promote international friendship and cultural understanding" - Bob Carroll, Director http://www.world-pen-pals.com/welcome.htm
Katie is hoping to participate in the European program with England and France being the destination countries. Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, he believed that if people from different cultures could come together in peace and friendship, so eventually would countries. Since its founding, People to People has launched many international programs, including Sister Cities, Project HOPE and Pen Pals. The objective of this program for approximately forty-five students from the tri-state area, is to promote international understanding while building leadership skills among America's youth.
People to People Student Ambassadors are nominated then carefully interviewed and evaluated before their acceptance. Katie states, "I am honored to have been selected. Personally, I am looking forward to broadening my perspectives of the world and gaining a better understanding of Western European history. My great-grandfather fought in World War I in Europe. Upon my return, I plan to share my experience with schools and civic clubs in our community."
These student ambassadors earn high school and college credits because of the many educational elements within the program. Part of the twenty-day experience, Katie will observe an official Parliament briefing, view the ancient and mysterious monoliths of Stonehenge, and explore Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, to name a few of the highlights. Then it is off to France to see the beaches of Normandy, where U.S. soldiers landed on D-Day, pause for reflection at the American War Cemetery then visit the Louvre Museum where the "Mona Lisa" is currently on display. Home stays with host families are also part of the curriculum, where students are immersed in culture by "becoming a part of a local family."
While Katie is teaching herself to speak French, she dreams of becoming a veterinarian and hopes to attend Wilson College. "Ever since I was five years old and I got my first dog, Mickey"--a black and white cocker spaniel mix-"I knew I wanted to be a vet." She offers with a giggle then adds, "I've always loved animals. I think of them as little people."
As fun and educational as the People to People Student Ambassador program is, it does, come with a price tag-$5177.00 to be exact. This amount includes all transportation, accommodations, meals, and educational activities. Tuition is due by April 17. If you are interested in sponsoring Katie Hutzell, please call 301-791-7487. For further information on the Student Ambassador program, visit their website at www.studentambassadors.org.