Pleasant Valley High School student Robert Getz learned a lot when he attended the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security in Washington D.C. last month.

The junior, who is a starter and captain in both varsity football and baseball, is a member of the National Scholars Society and a distinguished honor-roll student. He was selected to attended the National Youth Leadership Forum's Feb. 8-13 session.

Begun in 1992, the program invites outstanding high school students to explore careers in defense, the diplomatic corps, national security and intelligence. The students visit sensitive national security, diplomatic areas in Washington, D.C.

For Getz, the experience will last a lifetime.

"While attending the forum, I was fortunate enough to receive a tour of the Pentagon and talk to people who are enrolled at the Drug Enforcement Administration, and was able to view the DEA museum," he said. "I also got to tour many of our nation's national monuments and attend a changing-of-the-guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery."

"I sat through many seminars and listened to many guest speakers talk to us about diplomacy and our nation's defense. I took part in a national crisis simulation that involved North Korea gaining control of nuclear weapons. As a forum, we all had a specific role of the government to play and had to make decisions in order to solve the crisis," he said.

"On the final days of the forum, we toured the national mall and I visited a museum involving the growth of aircraft and space aeronautics," Getz said.

The teen's plans include playing college football. He said he hopes to major in either law enforcement of engineering.

"While attending the forum, I learned a lot about our government and how our government works and is controlled. I also learned a lot about the career options dealing with our nation's defense. I learned how interesting working for our nation's defense can be and how beneficial of a degree it is," he said. "The forum was an awesome opportunity for myself and others to meet new people and become educated about national security. The forum helped me with career options and give me an idea of what kind of career I want to pursue."