Two Local Teens Selected to Attend United Nations Pilgrimage of Youth
Story from Lincoln County School District
Two local high school students have been selected to attend the 2013 United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth this summer. Sophia Solano, a junior at Newport High, and Maria Alvarado, a junior at Waldport High, will be joining hundreds of other teens from throughout the United States, Canada and other nations to study and learn about the United Nations.
Both promising young students were selected by the Lincoln City Odd Fellows Lodge after submitting winning essays about the U.N.’s role in protecting the health and welfare of children, and then participating in a speech competition. Each lodge chooses its own winners and pays their expenses.
“Originally we were only going to send one student, but as we got closer to the deadline we decided we needed to send two of these girls,” explains Babe Bogart, leader of this year’s search. “It is just a blessing to see the ability of these young kids. They are so bright; we just want them to get the chance to see more of the world at an early age.”
Both girls are top students in their classes. Solano is an accomplished musician, playing both piano and clarinet. She also is helping to organize a Model United Nations group at Newport High. Alvarado is editor of the school yearbook as well as being a member of the soccer and basketball teams.
According to Kathi Downing, Talented and Gifted (TAG) program teacher, eight TAG students from Taft, Newport and Waldport high schools participated in the competition. Zach Colbert, a sophomore at Taft High School, wrote an essay that was chosen to go to the district level. Even though he did not advance to the state level, he plans to try again next year, Downing says.
The U.N. Pilgrimage was established by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs in 1949. On average, about 300 students per year earn a place on the trip.
For young adults interested in world affairs, international relations, economics and/or political sciences, the U.N. Pilgrimage offers the opportunity to observe the United Nations in person while exchanging views on education, politics and religion. Students tour the United Nations building and listen to behind-the-scenes briefings conducted by specialized United Nations agencies and departments. Each student delegate will participate in in-depth discussions with other young people from around the world, as well as experience one of the greatest cities in the world, New York. The 10-day trip also includes tours of Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Ottawa, Canada.