Local girl earns national trip

Published 9:34 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kalea Leverette is used to taking trips.

Growing up in a Navy family, she has moved more than half a dozen times in the past 10 years.

But, next summer Leverette will be taking a trip like none other when she joins students from across the country to study at Johns Hopkins University.


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The sophomore at Nansemond River High School has been selected to take part in the People to People program, which has offered students the capability for international travel, cross-continental communication and innovative learning opportunities for close to 50 years.

The organization was founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower with the belief that ordinary citizens of different nations would be able to solve their differences and find a way to live in peace if they were able to communicate directly. Beginning in 1963, students were sent to countries all over the globe in an effort to unite and learn.

Leverette will be participating in a 10-day People to People Leadership Summit in medicine hosted at Johns Hopkins from June 21 to June 30. The summit blends small-group discussions, presentations, and workshops by university staff with social, recreational, and educational activities with fellow students across the globe. Leverette will be staying on campus, in the dorms, and working in the same classrooms as any other collegian.

“It should be really fun,” Leverette said. “You get to see all this cool stuff.”

Leverette was nominated for the program by her biology teacher before she knew anything about the program.

“I didn’t know what it was at the time,” she said. “I had no idea.”

After doing some research online, Leverette and her parents thought it would be a worthwhile venture. She completed the online application and nomination forms, and was accepted two weeks later.

Leverette had her choice of programs from leadership training to international diplomacy, but Leverette said she is considering a career as a doctor, so the medicine program made the most sense.

“I really wanted to learn more about medicine…,” she said. “I’ll actually get to do stuff.”

Leverette’s parents, Glen and Marian, are both excited about the potential the trip has for their daughter.

“We’re hoping she’ll learn some leadership skills…and hopefully she’ll get a chance to learn some time management skills, but most importantly have fun and understand what college life is like, or almost like,” Marian Leverette said. “I think she’ll have the opportunity to really appreciate how special it is to be a student here in the United States when she meets the different kids from different places.”