Monday, August 31, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities - 2009

This article was published in the September, 2009 issue of Living@Sun City Carolina Lakes.

A Tale of Two Cities - 2009

by Anne and Tony Lauher

It was the best of times for Jordan Lauher, granddaughter of Sun City Carolina Lakes residents Maurice and Anne Lauher. During a two-week period in July, Jordan experienced an opportunity of a lifetime as she toured England and France as part of the People to People Student Ambassador program. President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the Program in 1956 “… to promote cultural understanding and world peace through direct interaction between ordinary citizens around the world.”

As a result of her academic achievements, specifically her involvement in Duke University's Talent Identification Program, Jordan, who turns 11 on September 11, was nominated to participate in the People to People program. After completing the application process, which included letters of reference and an in-depth interview, Jordan was honored to be one of 40 Charlotte area fifth, sixth and seventh graders selected from a pool of nearly 500 nominees.

"I was proud of myself after being selected because it was something I'd accomplished all on my own," Jordan explained. "But I was kind of nervous in the interview."

Jordan then embarked on a fund-raising effort that included doing as many household chores as possible and a hand-written "marketing campaign" targeting family and friends across the country. .While 40 students were selected for the trip, only 15 actually traveled. On the trip, the Charlotte contingent met up with other Student Ambassadors from New York and Wisconsin to represent their country abroad.

The two-week long excursion focused primarily on London and Paris, with day-trips to outskirts to visit Oxford University and Stonehenge. In England, one of their first activities was a ride on the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in the world. Later in the week, they received VIP access at Buckingham Palace and an audience with members of Parliament. They experienced London’s well-known theater district when then attended a performance of “Hairspray”, and they even sat in on an actors’ workshop and participated in a few scenes. There were also lots of physical team-building activities such as an 80-foot high "zipline" ride and a simulated war scene complete with flaming catapult

Arriving in Caen, France, after an overnight ferry ride across the English Channel, they visited Normandy and the D-Day site, including the memorial cemetery where over 9,000 American soldiers are buried. In Paris, the students toured the Louvre museum and Notre Dame Cathedral, and of course, climbed the Eiffel Tower. A fun day at Disneyland Paris brought the trip to a close before coming back across the pond to waiting family members, her parents, Tony and Paula and sister Kendyl
For Jordan, the memories are many. "I made some really good friends and got to see things that many Americans never get to see," Jordan offered. "It was exhausting because we had a full day every day but I wouldn't trade my trip for anything... itwas awesome." .
She’s looking forward to the Ambassadors’ reunion that’s planned for later in the year.

We are so proud of Jordan and happy that she has had this wonderful opportunity.

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