Canada or bust for ambassador

Published 10:59 pm Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Creekside Elementary School fifth-grader is raising money to travel to Canada in June as a student ambassador.

Luke Williamson has become one of only 10 fifth- and sixth-grade students from Hampton Roads selected to join the People to People student ambassador delegation to America’s northern neighbor.

Creekside Elementary School fifth-grader Luke Williamson has been selected to visit Canada as a youth ambassador. His family is seeking sponsorship to fund the unique adventure.

Creekside Elementary School fifth-grader Luke Williamson has been selected to visit Canada as a youth ambassador. His family is seeking sponsorship to fund the unique adventure.

“You learn about different cultures — what kind of clothes they wear and the food they eat,” Luke said. “It’s a once-a-year opportunity, and it gives me a chance to learn more about Canada.”

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Luke and his family hope to raise $5,000 to pay for the trip, which departs the U.S. on June 25, returning July 6.

Supporters can purchase an ad or become a patron in the delegation’s Souvenir Journal Booklet.

Ads range from $30 for a quarter-page, all the way up to $250 for the coveted inside front cover, inside back cover, or back cover. Other options are a half-page for $50 and a full page for $100.

Luke’s mom, Claudine Campbell, said that anyone wishing to make a donation without actually purchasing an ad would be acknowledged in the booklet’s “Patrons” section.

Campbell said that her son — an honor roll student, captain of the school safety patrol, Amateur Athletic Union basketballer and pianist — was very excited.

“He’s so excited about going,” she said. “He’s committing himself to traveling with a delegation every year.”

Luke said he had to send in a resume with his application to become a student ambassador. He confirmed his excitement about the impending adventure: “I’m looking forward to learning about more of Canada that I haven’t heard about, since I’m from Virginia,” he said, adding he’s previously visited Jamaica.

“It’s an honor for me to go to Canada. I’m really looking forward to going.”

According to a letter Luke has sent out to drum up support, he’ll visit British Columbia and Alberta.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded People to People more than 50 years ago “because he believed ordinary citizens from different nations could solve their problems and live with one another in harmony,” the letter states.

“As a student ambassador, I have an awesome opportunity to reach out to the world in the spirit of President Eisenhower’s vision by representing my city of Suffolk.”

The program has an academic focus on aerospace, architecture, conservation, earth science, history and political science, according to Luke’s letter.

“By being invited to partake in this program I know that I am able to conquer all challenges that come my way.”