Students prepare for national conference

By William Thompson: Quay County Sun

The students’ eyes got wide and they did not know quite what to say when they considered the possibility of meeting President Bush.

Five Tucumcari Middle School seventh-graders will be heading to Washington, D.C. in April for the Junior National Young Leaders Conference.

Corinne Lauriault, Lauren Chacon, Kristen Rich and Cole Cooper will be leaving for Washington Apr. 9 and return Apr. 14. Casey Romero will attend the conference later that month.

Luis Leyva was nominated for the conference but will not attend.

The students will have time to visit a wide variety of monuments and museums. The capitol building and the White House are on their agenda as well.
Lauriault said she’s looking forward to visiting the Pentagon.

“It’s going to be interesting to see all these places that I’ve heard about,” Lauriault said.

On the possibility of seeing famous politicians and government leaders during her stay in Washington, Rich said she’s not sure she would recognize many of them except for the President.

“I’ve heard of these people like Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld, but I don’t know what they look like.”
Bobbi Lumpkin, a math teacher at TMS, is helping the students raise money for their trip.

“We’ve raised about $6,000 so far and we need about $3,000 or $4,000 more,” Lumpkin said. “Many people in the community have contributed.”

Lumpkin will be going to Washington with the students.

“They will get to visit colonial Williamsburg and have an overnight stay at the Baltimore Science Center,” Lumpkin said. “They will probably be busy from 9 a.m. to about 3 p.m. daily with conference activities. Some very famous people have spoken to students at this conference in past years.”
Romero said he is looking forward to the learning aspect of the trip.

“I also want to see the cherry blossoms,” Romero said. “They are supposed to be out in April.”

Chacon said her good grades helped her get nominated for the conference.

“Ms. Lumpkin nominated me for my leadership skills,” Chacon said. “We have to prepare an essay that we will present at the conference. I haven’t started working on it yet.”