Teen won’t lower her standards

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 15, 2002

Ashlee Warman is an unusual and fairly amazing teen-aged girl. She looks at people like Nancy Pelosi, just named as the first woman to serve as a House Minority Leader, as a role model, and unlike most young women, she sees Brittany Spears as anything but admirable.

Warman, just 16, is different in many other ways including the fact that she’s determined not to compromise her high standards both in scholastic achievement and morality.

In fact, it was Warman’s excellent ability as a student that won her a seat at the &uot;National Young Leaders Conference (NYLC) in Washington, D.C., an event that only served to enforce her emphasis on scholastic achievement.

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Warman went to D.C. in October and as a guest at the NYLC, a unique leadership development program for high school students who demonstrate leadership potential and scholastic merit. She was one of only 400 students from across the nation to be chosen to attend the conference.

&uot;The theme for the conference was &uot;The Leaders of Tomorrow Meeting the Leaders of Today,’ and throughout the six days, we interacted with the key leaders and newsmakers from the three branches of government, the media, and the international community,&uot; Warman explained. &uot;I thought it was great because we went to the nation’s Capitol and it taught us that we could someday take leadership roles in our communities.&uot;

Michael Lasday, executive director of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, said the events of Sept. 11th prompted the urgent need to understand and exercise effective leadership.

&uot;Those who participate in this program not only gain knowledge and experience in the nation’s capitol, they leave with a sense of accomplishment and an increased ability to face the challenges of the future,&uot; said Lasday. &uot;It’s wonderful to see high school students like Ashlee Warman seeking out the National Young Leaders Conference in an effort to learn and take on leadership roles in the communities throughout the country. The CYLC was founded in 1985 and is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education organization committed to fostering and inspiring young people to achieve their full leadership potential.&uot;

According to Warman, some highlights of the conference included welcoming remarks from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and a panel discussion with prominent journalists at the National Press Club.

&uot;We also met with senators and a representative to discuss important issues facing the nation,&uot; she said. &uot;Also, I participated in a number of leadership skill-building activities. In one instance, we did role-playing and I acted as the president of the country deciding what to do in an international crisis. We also participated in a judicial simulation, called &uot;Testing the Constitution,’ in which we looked at actual Supreme Court cases. The week culminated with the &uot;Model Congress,’ in which we assumed the roles of U.S. Representatives and debated, amended, and voted on proposed mock legislation.&uot;

While learning leadership skills is essential in a young person’s life, there are other interests that grab her attention and she’s quick to speak out against matters that she believes to be improper. Brittany Spears is one.

&uot;I just think she is sending an entirely wrong message to girls,&uot; said Warman. &uot;She claims to be pure, but I don’t believe it with the way she dances and dresses. She’s compromised her morals for money, and you just don’t do that. I would like to be known and remembered as the person who would not compromise my morals for any reason, but who was still accepted by her peers. I would like to be in a position to put Brittany Spears in her place. She just shouldn’t act the way she does because some little girls think that’s the way to dress and act.&uot;

Name? Ashlee Rachel Warman

Age? 16

Hometown? Suffolk

Family? Terri Brown and stepdad, Gary, and father, Ray Warman

Education? Currently a student at Stone Bridge School, a Christian school in Chesapeake

Career/Occupation? I don’t have a career yet, but I definitely have one in mind. I want to attend Christopher Newport University and get a degree in broadcast media and that’s my choice of career.

Why did you choose media broadcasting for a career? Because the media is so influential and I feel like I want to make a difference in the world.

Favorite thing about the career? I would love to travel the world. There is so much to see and learn about and think it’s a wonderful way to meet new people.

The least favorite thing about the career you’ve chosen? Again, it would be the travel. While I would love to travel, it would mean I would be away from the people I love and my friends. Also, I’m sure there is a lot of stress to meeting deadlines in the media.

Volunteer activities? I’m young and I’m just beginning as a volunteer, but I am involved in the Key Club and I will be involved in many more volunteer services as I go through school.

Favorite thing about life in Suffolk? It’s rural but still close to everything I love like the malls, the beach, and the mountains.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? It would have to be my attendance at the Leader’s Conference, my grade point average and my community service through the Key Club.

Who or what motivates or inspires you? My mom! She’s certainly motivational early in the morning when she gets me up for school.

Favorite way to spend your free time? Hanging with my friends at the mall, and I love to work. I was a waitress at The Dining Room this past summer and I loved meeting the customers and talking with them. They all had interesting things to say.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with others? Live every day as if it is your last. I mean have a good, positive attitude and use wisdom in your decisions in life.

What ingredients are in the recipe for a good life? To me, laughter and my dogs, Buster and Scarlett.

We all have 15 minutes of fame in this life. How would you spend your time in the spotlight? I’d put Brittany Spears out of business.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My fears. I worry about losing my dad because he’s had some illness. I worry about how I would handle that and I would like to change that, to become stronger.