Middle Park eighth-graders selected for ‘People to People’ trip abroad | SkyHiNews.com

Middle Park eighth-graders selected for ‘People to People’ trip abroad

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

Three East Grand Middle School eighth-graders have been selected to embark on a “People to People International” journey to Europe.

Allaura Cox, Adam Weaver and Alex Sidell are planning their 20-day educational trip to Greece, Italy and France as part of the People to People organization’s mission of “promoting world peace through increased understanding between the citizens of the world.”

The students were nominated for selection, then successfully underwent an interview process to be accepted.

Only about two other students from Grand County have taken part in the nationwide program, which was established in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower who believed that “people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments.”

Since it was founded, as many as eight U.S. presidents have served as honorary chairpersons for People to People, according to http://www.studentambassadors.org.

Student ambassadors experience hands-on the arts, sports and cultures around various parts of the world. Travelers stay with families at the destinations.

They can also gain lasting rewards, such as self esteem, confidence, a broader sense of the word and an appreciation for the privileges of the United States.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for them to travel,” said Sidell’s mother Terry Sidell, principal of Grand Lake Elementary School, who said she’s “thrilled” the trio is traveling together along with about 40 other teens from Colorado. “They are only in eighth grade,” she said. “It’s nice they’ll have a support system.”

It will be the first time each of the students has flown over the Atlantic.

Up until next June, trips to Mexican beaches will have been the extent of the students’ world travel experiences.

The opportunity isn’t free. Their upcoming trip costs $6,700 each, so they’ll be hosting fundraisers to help with expenses.

One is a Soup Dinner taking place on Jan. 26, featuring a variety of soups from different countries of the world. It will be held at the East Grand Middle School, and during the event, a drawing is scheduled to take place for a limited edition giclee, donated to the cause by local artist Karen Vance. The art is “Another Spring” number 61 of 150 that depict the landscapes of Colorado.

“Vance Chances” will be sold for $2 apiece and three for $5 to be entered into the drawing at the soup dinner, which will also feature a silent auction. The chances will be available for purchase at various student events throughout the year.

Cox said she’s looking forward to Paris. She’s been studying French on-and-off since kindergarten.

“She’s going to be doing all the talking for us,” said Alex Sidell.

Sidell is eager to “go to a different place and get out of the house … and Grand County … and the state, and the country!”

And Weaver, well, he anticipates at least one accomplishment during his journey.

He said he’s most looking forward to taking one of those photos that gives the illusion of holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

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