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Local sixth grader continues preparation for People to People trip

Earlier this school year, sixth grader Simon Wilson was eager to share his story as he planned his People to People trip to California.
The trip will help expand his knowledge, while providing the opportunity of a lifetime for the Tyrone youngster.
The People to People program allows students to travel and learn about other areas and other cultures.
While Simon won’t be leaving the United States on this trip, the journey through California promises to be exciting.
Wilson will participate in a 14-day Yosemite Adventure, traveling to San Francisco; Bodie; Yosemite National Park; Mono Lake; Kirkwood and Lake Tahoe, California.
In order to participate, Wilson must raise enough funds. The total cost for the trip is $3,998.
While it might seem expensive at first, the total cost includes all meals, flights, accommodations – everything needed – with the exception of spending money.
The total price even includes insurance which covers expenses to fly in parents should a traveler become sick or unable to return home.
Simon’s parents, Kim and Albert Wilson, have been working on various fundraisers to help collect the money for Simon’s trip.
The family is very thankful for those who have already stepped up to make a contribution, including Tyrone Sheetz; First Presbyterian Church; Mr. Francis Bloom; Fowler Logging; Jean O’s Pizzeria; Dr. Tolan, State College; Tony Scordo; VFW Post 4559; Neptune Fire Co.; Rick and Cherry Greer, Texas; Peter and Denise Kreckel; Whren Associates; Tyrone American Legion; Tyrone Knights of Columbus; Drs. Campbell and Pine, Tyrone; Linda Derman; Kathryn Lewis; Steven and Sherry Sessamen, Virginia; Richard H. Searer Funeral Home, Inc. and the Kiwanis Club of Tyrone.
Wilson also wanted to thank all the friends, family and neighbors who continue to buy whatever Simon comes to the door to sell.
At this point, Simon still needs to raise $2,145.
Payments are made in installments and while the exact dates of the trips are unknown at this point – they have to wait until all participating schools let out for summer break – the final payments will be due in April or May.
Anyone interested in making a donation can do so by mailing checks or money orders directly to People to People Office of Admissions, Dwight D. Eisenhower BLDG, 110 South Ferrall Street, PO Box 4000, Spokane, WA 99202-4000 or to Simon A. Wilson, 1501 Logan Avenue, Tyrone, PA 16686. Checks and money orders should be made payable to People to People. Please include the following information: Simon A. Wilson – Delegate ID No. 886917.
Currently, Simon is collecting old cell phones, computer ink cartridges and any aluminum cans or spouting to help raise funds.
He is also collecting brass, copper, 32 oz. or 6 oz. yogurt cups and juice pouches (like Capri Sun).
Anyone wishing to donate any of these items can call 686-0402 to make arrangements for pick up.
His mom said she is also trying to get ahold of some apples to start an apple dumpling sale and once the weather gets nicer, they will continue with car washes.
Other plans include hoagie sales and a possible dance at the Legion.
Kim also pointed out there are other ways to make a donation besides monetarily. She said she is interested in working with local bars and/or restaurants who can donate cans toward Simon’s money raising efforts.
Simon recently attended his first People to People meeting, which included 15 students from the general area, up to two hours away.
The students were put in groups and interviewed each other. Afterwards, they stood up and told the group what they had learned about their partners.
The group also watched videos and were assigned a project for their next meeting. Simon must research Yosemite and make a poster to present at the next gathering.
“It’s really great for Simon socially,” said Kim, who was surprised by how well he did getting in front of the group for his first presentation.
The People to People Ambassador Programs provides international travel opportunities for grade school, middle school and high school students.
Students journey in delegations of 30-40 Ambassadors led by experienced local educators.
Student Ambassadors experience hands-on learning opportunities and immerse themselves in the arts, sports and family life of cultures around the world.
Each delegation participates in four pre-departure orientation meetings in order to get to know fellow Student Ambassadors and their families.
In addition, participants can earn transferable high school and college credits that can help build a college admissions resumé.
The program was started in 1956, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called a special White House conference of American leaders. Eisenhower believed that ordinary citizens of different nations, if able to communicate directly, would solve their differences and find a way to live in peace. In 1956, he put those beliefs into action, creating the People to People Ambassador Programs.
In order to participate in the People to People program, students must be nominated. They then take part in an interview to determine if they are ready to participate in the program.
When asked about the upcoming trip, Simon said he’s looking forward to staying in the hotels.