By Nathan Mayberg
LIBERTY June 15, 2004 Government officials from Naples, Paris and Monaco will meet Liberty High School student Jennifer Cronk this summer as she travels with the New York People to People Student Ambassador Program to Europe.
A successful interview along with her grades, attitude, recommendations and overall student performance led to her selection as one of 80 participants from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Cronk, who will be entering her senior year in the fall, will have the opportunity to earn academic credits as she travels for two to three weeks throughout Europe. She will witness historical treasures such as a 3,200-year-old Egyptian obelisk in Paris and Michelangelos sculpture of David in Florence, Italy.
The group will gain special access to many sites and centers throughout the region. Initially, they will stay in the homes of European families. Subsequently, they will lodge at hotels.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the program during his administration. Eight United States presidents have served as honorary chairperson.
The aim of the program is for students to gain an appreciation for the world through educational and cultural interaction. The program also hopes its students will develop self-esteem, increased levels of maturity and independence.
Amid a time of war, President Eisenhower concocted this idea so that people throughout the world could communicate with each other, explained his granddaughter Mary Eisenhower, who is the CEO of People to People.
He believed that if people could visit each others homes, attend their schools, and see their places of worship, then the misunderstandings, misperceptions, and resulting suspicions which were making war a viable option would disappear. He wanted people to know and understand that while we are all very different, our values, goals, and day-to-day issues are very much the same, she wrote.
Cronk said she found her drive during her time at St. Peters Regional School, which she attended from kindergarten through eighth grade. She also attends Sullivan County BOCES Career and Tech Center for Childhood Education.
As part of her internship at BOCES, she helps out in the kindergarten class at her old school three times a week.
All my life, I have done my best to go above and beyond what needs to be done, she wrote in an essay.
Her father Thomas describes her as a phenomenal student. She is a very hard worker self-motivated.
Cronk is a high honors student, who has been nominated for induction into the National Technical Honor Society.
An accomplished athlete, she has partaken in her schools indoor and outdoor track teams, excelling in the hurdle sprints and routes. She is also a member of her schools mixed chorus.
She described her selection to the program as an honor.