Abby Haas is now in the fifth grade at Panther Valley Elementary School. She recently returned from a week long forum at the People to People World Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. She was nominated by her fourth grade teacher Ceil Enama.

Abby was thrilled to find out that not only did her parents Greg and Kristen Haasof White Bear pay for her attendance, but the Panther Valley Foundation partially funded her trip. She would like to thank Ms. Enama for nominating her.

The week long trip started with getting to know the roommates. The parents had an orientation at that time. The students attended the Welcome Dinner and an introduction to the history of People to People after they met their group leader. The following days were comprised of exploring the Capitol building and Capitol Hill. At the Embassy Dinner they sampled international cuisine and heard from accomplished speakers.

On the third day they headed by bus to Jamestown, Va. where they learned about the people of the 17th century Virginia, the Powhatan Indians and European and African immigrants. They also got a chance to do a little shopping in Williamsburg's quaint shops.

Day Four they went to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They then went to the Holocaust Museum, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Newseum, and the World War II Memorial where they laid a commemorative wreath. After dinner they witnessed the "Monuments at Night".

On Day Five, their last full day in America's capital, after breakfast they motored to the International Spy Museum and other points of interest. That was the night they enjoyed a dinner dance cruising on the Potomac.

On Day Six they headed home after saying good-bye to their new friends.

Abby selected the Spy Museum as her favorite place to visit. She was amazed at what they had to offer. She kept a journal of her daily activities while she was there. She mentioned that she also liked the Lincoln Memorial.

Her mother stated that she was very impressed with safety issues for the students who attended the forum. She spoke with her daughter every night. She feels that Abby has become a little more outgoing now. The visits to the museums and memorials gave Abby a new perspective on the importance and essential need for informed, passionate world leaders.

The People to People World Leadership Forum offers students a unique blend of specialized educational leadership, and cultural exposure through a variety of programs, as well as an itinerary filled with the highlights of the hosting community. While in Washington, Abby formed many lasting friendships with other Student Leaders from around the world. Participants in these programs often experience life-changing shifts in their attitudes toward individual and shared responsibilities, global leadership, and appreciation of cultural diversity, while they also return home with enhanced skills and self-confidence.