8th-grader picked to spend 22 days in United Kingdom


January 19, 1995|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Mycah Berryman, who has hardly ever left Anne Arundel County, will get to see what life is like beyond the Chesapeake this summer.

The eighth-grader at Severn River Junior High School is to spend 22 days traveling in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland as part of the People to People Student Ambassador Program. But before she can fly away, she has to raise $4,000 to pay for the trip and other expenses.

Mycah, 13, and her parents began a letter-writing campaign this month to help her raise the money. They have raised $925.

One of her letters reached the Annapolis chapter of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore alumni association, which donated $125 for the trip.

"I think it will broaden her awareness of different cultures," said Karen Sellman, chapter president. "I think being exposed to different things will make her a well-rounded person."

Mycah, who lives in a small community just south of Sandy Point State Park, said the trip would "make me realize that there's more than just this little state that I live in. There's a whole world out there to explore."

In London, Mycah is to join 27 other middle school students from Anne Arundel County to tour the houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the British Museum.

They also are to visit families throughout the United Kingdom, spending two or three days with each and attending school with their children.

The Student Ambassador Program was founded by president Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. His vision was that "goodwill, understanding, and personal contact between young people of many cultures can be powerful forces for peace," according to a program brochure.

People to People was administered by the State Department until 1961, when it became a private, nonprofit organization.

Students are referred to the program by teachers or students who have participated in it. They are invited to a meeting explaining the program, then asked to fill out applications, provide letters of recommendation and complete a questionnaire before they are interviewed by local representatives.

"We're looking for the ability to talk about their hometown, their state and really be a good representative of the United States," said county coordinator Paul Chapin. "We're looking for students who are alert, great communicators and can easily adapt to new situations overseas."

Mycah is the only student from Severn River in the program.

Two students from Magothy River Middle School are to participate.

"We're just thrilled that she has the opportunity to go," said Phyllis Smith, Mycah's mother. "I don't know that I'll ever get that opportunity, but I'm glad she does."

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