Students taking part in ambassador program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The song says “It’s a small world after all.” And for six area students, an upcoming trip to Europe may demonstrate the reality of that little tune.

The students will take part in the People To People Student Ambassador program. Started in 1959 by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the program is meant to foster cultural understanding between American young people and their international counterparts.

“The idea is to promote goodwill between our students and people in other countries,” said Sandra Budden, who is helping publicize local People to People activities.

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“If a student can experience the culture and learn about the government and the way of life in other countries they will hopefully have a better understanding of the world.”

The students will spend 20 days in Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France. The itinerary includes briefings at government agencies, discussions with industry and trade officials, visits to the headquarters of international organizations and meetings with youth clubs.

The local students are Courtney Thornsberry, a student at Green High School, Anthony Clark and Gracie Seward, both students at Ironton High School, Sean Webb and Morgan Miller both students at South Point High School and Chelsea Shepherd, a student at Symmes Valley High School.

Miller, who will be a senior this year, said she is looking forward to the trip.

“I always wanted to go to Europe but didn’t think I would get an opportunity,” she said. “I like meeting new people. As part of the trip we get to stay three days with a host family who will show us what it is like to be a citizen in their country. I’m excited about going.”

Miller said she was particularly interested in a scheduled visit to an Austrian concentration camp and discussion of the Holocaust with a concentration camp survivor. She said she also looks forward to seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“You see it on T.V. but it will be nice to really see the place everyone talks about and experience it for myself,” she said.

Student ambassadors are nominated by school peers or school officials and must agree to personal interviews with members of a local screening committee. Budden said the 40 students chosen from schools in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia have spent the last five months learning about the countries they will visit in preparation for the trip.