Castle Heights 5th grader attends World Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.
Chandler Kinsinger, a fifth grade student at Castle Heights Elementary School, traveled to Washington, D.C. as a student ambassador to the World Leadership Forum. He went with People to People, an international leadership program founded in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower.
Students qualify for participation by being nominated by a teacher and they must also demonstrate high academic achievement, leadership, and a strong interest in diplomacy and government.
Clara Jensen, a teacher at Castle Heights, nominated Chandler. His grades are often straight-As and honors.
His parents, Bobbie and Buck Brady and Sterling Kinsinger, said they were a little nervous about letting him go because he would have to fly alone and go to a city where he would be a stranger. However, they recognized the honor of the trip and allowed him to go.
While in the nation's capital, he got to see the White House, The Supremem Court, Library of Congress, the National Museum of American History, war memorials, and Washington's newest monument, the Marting Luter King Jr. National Memorial.
His group was the frist ever to view and partricipate in the Institute of Peace Headquareters and see the Global Peacebuilding Center.
Chandler also got to experience a speaker panel on Capitol Hill composed of members of Congress as they discussed important current events. He also took part in an international conflict resolution workshop to learn the skills it takes to become an International Peacebuilder. He met diplomatic officials at an international cuisine.
He toured the site where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought and got to eat at President Eisehowers's farm, which he described as "a fancy mansion."
His forum emphasis was the Civil War and Reconstruction, World War I, the Depression, World War II, the Vietnam conflict and the American Civil Rights movement.
His 300 companions were from all over the U.S., and one of them came from as far away as Sri Lanka.
Chandler said Arlington National Cemetery made him sad, "with all the crosses of the soldiers" but he thought the eternal flame at John F. Kennedy's grave was "awesome."
Another sad place was the Holocaust Museum, he said.
One of the things he talks about was the chance to talk with astronaut Roger Crouch, who had flown two Space Shuttle missions. Crouch talked about the courage required to fly in space, saying that it was worth all the risk involved.