People to people
Imagine the look of surprise and excitement on Alexis Tedesco’s face early last fall when she received a letter in the mail telling her she had been nominated to be a “People to People student ambassador.”
What is a student ambassador? And who is People to People? The “People to People” movement was initiated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Eisenhower believed that direct interaction between ordinary people around the world could promote cultural understanding and world peace. He was a firm believer that peaceful relations among different countries required mutual
respect between individuals, and he envisioned people responding imaginatively to the world’s need for peace. Today, the People to People Ambassador programs travel to all seven continents, offering programs for students in grades five through twelve, as well as adults, to experience personal and professional growth as they interact with others around the world through cultural activities, seminars, and humanitarian efforts. The goal of the People to People program is community service.
This seems like a lot for one sophomore high school student! But Alexis Tedesco has been preparing all year for the start of her ambassadorship on June 26. That is the day she will be flying to Scotland.
Tedesco, who will be a sophomore at Troy High School in the fall, went through a group interview in Williamsport at Penn Tech College. That’s where it all began. She said she was nervous at first, but it soon became easier for her. She was one of three chosen out of eight or nine students interviewed, and joined 33 others for the trip. The young ambassadors will be in the United Kingdom for 19 days, visiting and participating in activities in Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Through the school year, Tedesco and the others met once a month at Penn Tech to work on a project researching one of the countries they would be visiting. Her group researched Wales and her role was to present their itinerary for the trip. The students also had to keep a “before travel” journal, which will continue during the trip.
Tedesco, with her family and friends, have been raising money for her trip. They collected returnable bottles and cans; they had a bake sale, a car wash and two spaghetti dinners! The Troy community pitched in to help. Patrick’s in Troy let her use their parking lot and water for the car wash. Friends Krisyn Kinner and Tiffany Ayres, along with Tedesco’s mom, Lynette Roloson, helped her wash lots of cars! Tedesco had a bake sale at the Dollar General store in Troy. One spaghetti dinner was held at Pine Croft Golf Course in Centerville and the other was held at Bradley Hall in Columbia Crossroads. Julie’s Restaurant in Troy donated the spaghetti for the dinners. At least five different people made the sauce for the second dinner, which made for quite a tasty sauce when it was all put together! At one of the dinners, she had a bake sale and at the other dinner she had a Chinese auction. Roloson purchased a gun from Jim’s Sporting Goods for the auction and Jim’s donated a gift certificate to go with it. The Troy Farmer’s Market offered her a place to continue her Chinese auction after the dinners. Tedesco and her mom especially want to thank Nancy Rosekrans, Nancy Spaulding, Dick and Dottie Shellenberger, Beverly Dickerson, Amber Watson, Liza Voorhees, Judy and Calvin Watson, Audrey Corby, Shirley Vanderpool, and many anonymous donors for all their help! They made their goal of $7,000, which she needed for the trip!
“I’m excited!” said Tedesco, who is getting a little nervous about flying. She has only flown once before, when she was too young to remember, so this is like flying for her first time. “I’m terrified, but people have told me it’s just like driving in a car.”
“I’m nervous about her going, but I’m also excited for her! ‘People to People’ are so nice. You know they’re somebody that you’re comfortable sending your children with,” said Roloson. “It’s a big opportunity to be able to do this. It isn’t just her going someplace with friends; it’s a learning experience.”
“We learned a lot of responsibilities,” said Tedesco. “It was a lot of work but I know in the end it will be worth it.”
Someone thought Alexis Tedesco would make a good student ambassador. Tedesco and her mom have no idea who it was who had nominated her. But from their hearts they want to say “Thank you!”