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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12/21/10 The Journey Has Just Begun

Hello everybody! Welcome to my official website, Sam's Journey to Australia. First of all, thanks for taking the time to visit my website (that I created, quite honestly, about an hour agao). This post is simple really. Here, I am going to tell you all about why in the heck am I creating a blog/website about my travels. Where am I traveling, you might ask. Australia, baby!!!! Here's the final draft of the letter I'm sending out to people regarding my travels. Happy Holidays!

Dear Friends, 

 My name is Samantha Leonard; I am Chris and Kara Leonard’s thirteen year-old daughter who is now going through her 8th grade year at Lagunitas Middle School in San Geronimo Valley, California.  I wanted to tell all of you about something extraordinary that has happened to me this year.  Towards the end of the summer, I received a surprising letter from a program that I had never heard of called “People to People Ambassador Program”, announcing that I had been selected as a candidate for their program. 
           At first, I was puzzled by the invitation since I did not apply for the program.  So I did some research and found out that the People to People Student Ambassador Program is a student travel program that gives students from elementary, middle, and high school the opportunity to travel around the world to learn about other cultures.  Students must be recommended by a teacher in order to be considered for the program.  Each candidate must attend an orientation meeting where they complete an application and schedule an interview with a member of the Student Ambassador committee. Committee members review each candidate’s application which includes personal reference letters and additional references from teachers. 
          Thankfully, I have completed the orientation and the interview process and I am happy to say I have been selected to participate in the Student Ambassador trip to Australia in the summer 2011!  I will have the opportunity to visit 5 cities in one of the most magnificent countries in the world. According to the program, 84% of the students who go on any Student Ambassadors trip get into their first choice college. I am a writer and I want to pursue a career in writing. I see the program as a helpful step in getting me into the best college that will help me perfect my talent.
           From day one, we will be flying to get through the many activities that are set up several months prior to the actual trip. We will constantly be on the move doing spectacular things that we all never expected to be doing.  In the past, students have been given the opportunity to go backstage at the Sydney Opera House, swim in the Great Barrier Reef, live with a family of aborigines, and so much more.  I need to raise $6,500 before next summer, in order to go on the trip to Australia. The grand total covers transportation, food, activities, and everything else that young travelers will need on their trip.  Since I have gone through all of the necessary steps, I am now officially a candidate fighting for my right to attend this 2 and a half-week trip to 5 cities in the beautiful Australia.
           Unfortunatley, I do not have enough money to pay for this trip and I was told to do some fundraising.  Fundraising will be a huge part in my journey but I was hoping that friends and family might be willing to help sponsor my journey.  Even just a little would help me to reach my goal and the opportunity of a lifetime.  A friend of my parents suggested that I create my very own website that I can post pictures and blog about my journey.   I can offer any viewer the chance to see Australia at a glance. I will post videos, pictures, and even journal entries to keep you up to date on all the hot news, regarding this trip.  Even beforehand, I offer a chance to read about my hopes for the big trip as well as information from the monthly meetings with the other student ambassadors.
          I am honored to have been nominated by my teachers and to have been selected by the People to People Student Ambassador Program.  I never expected to be handed this opportunity and I am very grateful for the chance to visit an exotic and beautiful place such as Australia.  I believe that I am ready to become a Student Ambassador, not because I am such a hard-worker that my hands go numb from writing or my head begins to throb without interruption, but because I was handed this opportunity for a reason. A teacher believed in me enough to-I guess-nominate me for a spot on this trip and they did so without hesitation. I have worked hard from day one and I am not about to stop now. If anything, being accepted into this program has made me want to work even harder at whatever I do and if I have to prove that by raising this money, then heck, I’ll do it. Because I believe in myself and I know what I can achieve by going on this trip. And I hope you can see that.

Thank you! :)


Samantha Leonard

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