NORWAY – She’s hoping to get a chance, the first in her life, to travel this summer to Wales, England and Ireland where she’ll meet a member of the British Parliament, see a play in London and rappel down the side of an Irish castle, among other not-so-typical tourist activities.
Jessie King of Norway, a sophomore at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris, was nominated for the People to People Student Ambassador Program, a national program started in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower to send U.S. students to represent the nation and promote peace.
But students have to pay their own way, and the $5,200 price tag of the trip, plus additional expenses of about $800, are beyond the means of King’s family.
Vicki, King’s mother, said Wednesday at their Ashton Road home that they have raised about half of the costs. To try to raise the rest of the money before May, which is when the fees are due, they are organizing a fund-raiser spaghetti dinner this Saturday at the First Baptist Church on Paris Hill Road in Paris.
Suggested donations will be $6 a plate, and the dinner starts at 5 p.m.
King said she is not sure who nominated her, but it could have been a teacher or another student. She is hoping to become a veterinarian or dentist, she said, and is enrolled in her high school’s health science program.
“I want to travel,” she said. “I want to learn about the different cultures and bring back information to share with the public and sponsors.”
King will travel with 45 other students from Maine for 20 days in the three countries. They’ll stay with host families, learn some Welsh, play traditional Gaelic sports, and do other cultural activities. Other groups from Maine will travel as well.
Erin Babbin, a seventh-grade teacher at Gray-New Gloucester who will lead King’s group, said, “We go to museums, we see art, we talk to people from the countries, we stay with families. It’s not a typical family sight-seeing vacation.”