National security opportunity for KFHS seniorPublished 11:16pm Thursday, February 21, 2013
A King’s Fork High School senior hopes that a rare opportunity to attend a National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington will help him achieve his career aspirations.
Fletcher Stephens, president of the student council, swim team member and formerly on the golf team, says he will get “an in-depth introduction to how the (nation) plans for peace and prepares for crises,” during the event from Feb. 26 through March 3.
The forum, subtitled “Exploring American Diplomacy, Intelligence and Defense,” will involve the exploration of “some of our country’s most technologically advanced military facilities and policy centers, as well as historical sites and national monuments,” according to Stephens.
“I will also have the opportunity to learn from some of our nation’s foremost decision-makers, diplomats and military leaders — all charged with keeping our nation safe.”
Stephens, who aspires to work in the national security field, has also been selected to attend a separate event in Washington, hosted by Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, on Feb. 27.
“My father has always taught me to pursue a life of service to others, and I always thought it was pretty cool to see what they (those in national security) do … what better way to serve others than to protect their life,” Stephens said.
He said he simply applied to attend the forum and was selected. “You really have to go for these opportunities,” he said.
“I didn’t hear about it (the forum opportunity) until recently, when I saw article on a girl who went last year.”
The event will include “specialized simulations … to put youth in the driver’s seat of building a strategy that will uphold our national security,” Marguerite Regan, dean of academic affairs for the forum organization, stated in a news release.
“The combination of interacting with professionals and with other students in this setting ensures that leaders are being developed so the future of our country will remain very bright.”
The “actual world events” curriculum will require students to think critically and use their public speaking and leadership skills, according to the release.
Students will engage civilian policy makers and senior military personnel in question-and-answer sessions and, based on past itineraries, may explore the Pentagon, the U.S. Department of State and a variety of embassies.
Stephens said he is “really excited” by the opportunity, adding, “It’s (national security) what I want to do.”