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Student heading to Washington

Sydney Finkbohner selected for national leadership conference

— Sydney Finkbohner can’t wait to see the White House, but she’s also excited to see the Capitol. And she is looking forward to getting on an airplane by herself for the first time in her young life.

A sixth-grader at Steamboat Springs Middle School, Sydney has been nominated and accepted to participate in the People to People World Leadership Forum from April 16 to 22 in Washington, D.C.

Sydney will join a selected group of students from across the country in the nation’s capital to earn high school credit while studying leadership and exploring the country’s most prominent monuments and institutions.



Washington is a place Sydney, a self-proclaimed political buff, has had her eye on, so when the opportunity to spend a week witnessing the nation’s most powerful politicians work in their natural environment came along, Lynn Finkbohner, Sydney’s mother, said she pulled resources together to ensure her daughter was able to go.

“I’ve always been interested in politics and the government and leadership,” Sydney said.



Soda Creek Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Cindy Gantick nominated Sydney, setting off a lengthy and time-consuming application process.

“You have to get surveys done by three teachers that say you’re a good student,” Sydney said. She also had to send information about herself as well as completed assignments to the People to People Student Ambassador Program, which puts on the People to People World Leadership Forum this month.

“The last one was to research (Dwight D.) Eisenhower,” Lynn said. “She has to bring that with her and present to fellow students.”

Sydney’s itinerary includes stops at the Smithsonian Institute, Colonial Williamsburg and the National Museum of American History. She is scheduled to examine the characteristics of American leadership during times of national challenge and prosperity, according to People to People. Forum delegates also will participate in small-group discussions and exercises to learn how successful leaders develop strategies, make decisions, build consensus in a political setting and foster change.

Former President Eisenhower founded People to People during his presidency in 1956. He had a vision to foster world citizenship through the formation of the organization, and the list of honorary chairmen includes former presidents dating back to John F. Kennedy.

“She is so excited,” Lynn said, eyeing her daughter.


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