Rachel Gilman, a sophomore at Leonardtown High, has been accepted into the People to People Student Ambassador Program, an educational travel program founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Acceptance into the Student Ambassador Program is quite an honor, which will allow Rachel to participate in a program that has been providing unique educational and travel opportunities for 50 years.
As a member of the Northern Virginia/Maryland delegation, Rachel will explore several countries for 21 days during the summer of 2009. By participating in the European program, she can earn academic credit while getting to know the people, culture, and history of the places visited.
She will take part in a variety of activities such as hearing an insiders’ perspective on British government from a member of Parliament, envisioning World War II’s historic D-Day landing as they walk the beaches of Normandy, taking in a thrilling view of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, seeing the Hague where matters of international justice are decided, and hiking in the breathtaking Swiss Alps.
When asked what she thought of the program, Rachel said, "I'm looking forward to learning about other cultures and trying different types of foods. The part of the trip that I'm most excited about is the home stay in Germany and visiting Parliament. It will be like bringing my textbooks to life."
After being invited to enroll, Rachel submitted letters of recommendation and successfully completed an interview process. Before departing, she will attend several orientation meetings with program leaders and fellow delegates to learn about the destination and prepare for the journey. Rachel, the daughter of David and Jennifer Gilman of California, MD, will travel under the leadership of Mr. Ric Campbell, a teacher leader from Alexandria, VA. Accompanying the delegation will be Ms. Christine Altizer Joy who teaches in Arlington, VA, and Ms. Sarah Beth Lewter who teaches in Sterling, VA.
President Eisenhower founded People to People during his presidency in 1956 with citizen leaders including entertainer Bob Hope, Olympic champion Jesse Owens, amusement entrepreneur Walt Disney, and Hallmark Cards founder Joyce Hall.
Having served as a military commander, Eisenhower believed that ordinary citizens of different nations could make a difference where governments could not. For more information about the program vsit www.peopletopeople.com/OurPrograms/Pages/default.aspx.