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Seeing the world in a new way

NORTH CREEK If you have talked to JCS junior Cory Gazaille lately, you may have noticed something different about him. While he looks much the same as he did when school let out in June, the subtle difference is how he talks, how he acts, and most importantly, how he sees the world. This summer, Gazaille was among 40 area students who were chosen to represent the United States as a Student Ambassador with the People to People program. The group spent ten days travelling in England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. His experiences will stay with him for the rest of his life and have inspired a desire to see even more of the world. Founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the People to People program provides an opportunity for students to travel internationally, with the goal of expanding the student's understanding of foreign cultures while sharing some of their own. The program promises to enhance the student's confidence, establish relationships with peers from around the world, while returning home with a broader, more enlightened perspective of the world. Ive had a lot of adults tell me that I have experienced something that most people never will in their lifetime, Gazaille said. I feel very fortunate and I tell everybody who will listen. Candidates for the ambassador program are nominated anonymously, and Gazaille is appreciative to whoever considered him worthy of the opportunity. This year he will prepare a video presentation of his trip to share with Johnsburg students and staff. During the trip he had the chance to visit each nations historic sites while visiting with overseas students, taking classes, and exploring other ways of life. The experience gave him a new perspective on the world and a newfound respect for his own country. One of the big things I learned was how little attention I paid to my own country, Gazaille added. Leading up to the trip all I could think about was getting out and experiencing new things but its made me realize how little I know about my own country and how grateful I should be for living here. This week Gazaille was accepted as a member of People to People Alumni an honor that will allow him to continue travelling with the organization to regions of his choosing. The Alumni are selected based on exceptional participation in the program and he looks forward to the possibility of visiting Russia or China in the future. To finance the European trip, the Gazaille family spent several months soliciting donations through a series of local fundraisers. The effort was rewarded and the family was able to raise the $5,200 required for the trip. Without the people who helped me financially, I would not have been able to go, he concluded. I would not be the same person I am now. This trip has really changed my life.

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