The three Paynesville students earned the two-week trip through the Paynesville Rebekah and Odd Fellows Lodge. The group left July 6 and returned July 22. Also in their tour group were other students from the midwest and northern states: North Dakota, Wyoming, Canada and Wisconsin, to name a few. There were four buses filled with students from 19 states and providences on the UN Pilgrimage.
Among their stops they saw Niagara Falls, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York. The three agreed Niagara Falls was awesome to see at night. Erin and Sena both loved New York. While in New York, they saw the play "Big." "The scenery and costume changes were fantastic," Erin said. All three also toured the Empire State Building.
At the United Nations, the tour groups listened to speakers and saw the various council rooms. The United Nations was not in session while the group was there. "It was great to be on a trip with 40 other kids with the same interests," Bret said. "By the end of the first day everybody on the bus was a very close knit group," Erin said.
The tour group spent two days in Washington, D.C. as their bus broke down. While in Washington, they toured Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, drove past the Pentagon, saw the Washington Memorial, Jefferson Memorial Vietnam War Memorial, and the Iwo Jima Memorial. In Philadelphia, they toured Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell.
As part of their UN trip, the students were to write a speech on a given topic and read it to a panel of judges at the UN. The topic was: "How does a designated war on poverty illustrate the UN's commitment to acting as a universal bodyguard and governing body? What does this guarantee us as citizens of the world?" "I didn't agree with the topic because I didn't think it guaranteed anything," Erin said. "Many of the kids wrote what they wanted, and their answers were really short to get it over with."
"We really encourage more people to try out for the UN Pilgrimage. All you have to do is write an essay on why you want to take part in the UN Pilgrimage," they said. "The trip is lots of fun and you don't have to be super smart to win. Most of our time was spent sightseeing. It is an amazing trip," they added.
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