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Boonsboro teen seeing the world this summer

Micaiah Jessie taking part in Sports Ambassador program

Micaiah Jessie taking part in Sports Ambassador program

July 14, 2008|By JOSH SHAW

BOONSBORO - While most teenagers spend their summers at home, working or hanging with friends, 15-year-old Micaiah Jessie will be playing soccer in Brazil and participating in a Congressional simulation in Washington, D.C.

Micaiah was nominated for, and accepted to, the People to People Sports Ambassador Program, which sends students in grades five through 12 around the world to compete on an international level and learn about different cultures.

He is one of about 250 American students who left July 7 to represent the United States in the Brazil Futebol program that runs until July 23.

The program is designed to give participating students an opportunity to learn about different cultures through international competition and other activities, according to the program's Web site.

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Micaiah was to train with Brazilian National Team coaches at the Roque Jr. Centro de Futebol in Santa Filomena for two days, and then with Steve Sampson, a former head coach of the U.S. National Team, and the rest of his staff.

The thing that Micaiah was most looking forward to, in addition to leaving the country for the first time, was attending two professional league soccer matches.

"I'm excited to see the professional matches because they play at such a high level," said Micaiah, who was captain of the Boonsboro junior varsity soccer team last year.

The students will be broken up into teams and will train every day. The teams not only will play against each other but also against teams of teenagers from Brazil.

"I think it will help me socially in meeting more people, and learning more about Brazil and soccer," he said.

Micaiah's mom, Angie Weller, said she thinks the trip will be great for her son, who has been playing soccer since he was 5 years old.

"He lives for soccer and this is the ultimate experience," she said.

As part of the organization's mission of cultural interaction, the students will donate soccer equipment to a group of underprivileged local peers and will cook an American-style barbecue for them.

The group also will visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Santa Filomena mountains, Jureia Beach and see other sights around Brazil.

But Micaiah's summer does not end there.

Just two days after returning to the United States, he will head to the nation's capital for a weeklong Congressional Youth Leadership Conference, something he was nominated for anonymously.

The conference gives students a chance to meet with politicians and other people who shape public policy. Micaiah will participate in different simulations and get a behind-the-scenes look at what happens on Capitol Hill.

Though Micaiah said he is not really interested in politics anymore, he said he was still excited to learn about the process.

"He's been watching a lot of election coverage and seeing how his favorite candidate (Barack) Obama is doing," Weller said. "All of these new opportunities and new places are great experiences for him."

As part of the leadership conference, Micaiah was invited to the presidential inauguration in January, something he said he is strongly considering, especially if Obama wins.

So while his friends will have to find something to do without him for a month, Micaiah said sacrificing part of his summer for the trips is worth it.

"There are not many chances to do this and I can hang out with friends anytime," he said.

His mom is extremely proud.

"He works really hard in school and does well," she said. "I'm really glad he got this opportunity."

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