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Teen to be a student ambassador overseas

March 18, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

KEEDYSVILLE - Boonsboro High School junior Brittany Stranathan will travel abroad this summer with a delegation of students from throughout the Tri-State area on a mission to enhance U.S. foreign relations.

"It's such an honor and I'm so excited. It's going to be a great chance to learn about other people," she said.

Following an extensive application process, Stranathan was selected to be an ambassador with the People to People Student Ambassador Program. As an ambassador, she'll spend three weeks traveling in the United Kingdom and France.

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It's an opportunity of a lifetime, but no surprise to her family and friends.

"She's been quietly active and supportive of a whole lot of different organizations," said Malcolm Stranathan, Brittany's dad.

"She's such a nice girl who has worked hard and she's mature for her age," said family friend Sally Hull.

A National Honor Society member, Stranathan, who lives in Keedysville, juggles a calendar of church, school and civic activities. Giving comes naturally to the 16-year-old, who has spearheaded fund-raising efforts for the American Cancer Society's local Relay for Life for the last two years, her dad said.

Such traits helped Stranathan secure the student ambassadorship.

"Our typical student profile is a student who works well with people. Many of them also have great people skills and they're curious and want to express and share information about themselves and others," program director Joel Hoadley said.

About 600 students from across the United States have been selected to travel as student ambassadors to countries around the globe. Stranathan's delegation consists of about 40 students from the Tri-State area, Hoadley added.

Student ambassadors will be accompanied by local educators, who will act as chaperones during the trip. Students will stay in homes with European families, visit with members of Parliament and travel to tourist attractions, Stranathan said.

"We meet on Saturdays to study French, and we've been reading articles and writing reports about the countries to prepare for our trip," she said.

Founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the program provides opportunities for students to explore domestic and foreign destinations.

"The program is an extension of Eisenhower's mission of finding ways to improve understanding around the world and learning why peace is important," Hoadley said.

The trip's $5,000 cost isn't paid for by the program.

Stranathan said she's relied on contributions from various civic groups to raise a majority of the money.

"I've done really well, and I only have about $1,000 left to raise," she said.

The trip also will give her a chance to visit her birthplace of Harrogate, England. Stranathan was born there in 1988 while her father was stationed there as an employee of the Department of Defense, he said.

The oldest of three children, Stranathan is an active member of Salem United Methodist Church in Keedysville, where her father Malcolm Stranathan is the minister. Her mother, Jacki Stranathan, is serving her second term as a member of the Keedysville Town Council.

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