Fifth-graders Mattie Brennan, Shaylon Walker and Micaiah Williams all said they were planning on going to the conference, and Jack Casey, Aiden Cheung and Brandon Cecilia are still considering it.
The students were nominated by fifth-grade teachers Sharon Drake, Nicole Flores and Emily Tongamoa.
“I saw them as leaders,” said Drake about why she nominated students. “They were excelling academically.”
She also nominated another student who attended the conference two years ago.
“Expectations are always met by these students,” Tongamoa said about the fifth graders. “They are role models.”
Flores said the students take initiative and know when to do the right thing. “They are also always going above and beyond in their academics.”
The students were notified of the nominations in a letter from the Congressional Youth Leadership Conference organization.
“It was so cool!” Brennan said about the letter. “It had a golden seal.”
Brennan said she’s excited about attending the conference because it could be a “once in a lifetime experience” for her.
“I was very excited that I got nominated,” she said. “I told all my family and friends.”
“A lot of people don’t get this experience,” Walker added. “To be this fortunate is a really good thing.”
Williams said he’s looking forward to going to the Lincoln Memorial during the conference.
“I’m also excited to go to the Maryland Science Center and sleep over,” he said.
Casey chimed in, “I can’t wait to check out the Smithsonian.”
He’s also interested in attending the conference because he wants to be a leader some day.
“I’ve been extremely involved in politics this whole year,” Casey said, adding that this opportunity is even more exciting since he’s had a chance to learn more about the federal government this school year.
During the 2012 presidential election campaign, Casey, Williams and Walker all participated in a mock debate at their school portraying the U.S. candidates.
Casey was Vice President Joe Biden, Williams was President Barack Obama and Walker was the debate moderator.
The upcoming six-day conference will allow students to participate in leadership development activities and focus groups, visit national memorials, history museums and the White House.
The deadline to apply and pay for the $2,000 conference, which will be paid out of each child’s pocket through fundraising activities, is mid-April, and they all hope to attend during the same week in June.
Students said they have raised a little bit of money on their own, most of which came from Christmas collections, but they are still looking for additional donations.