Auxvasse students travel to capital, learn leadership skills

Contributed photo: From left, Victoria Haubner, Rachel Marcak and Kenny Taylor were all chosen to attend the Junior National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. All three students are seventh graders at Auxvasse Elementary School.

Contributed photo: From left, Victoria Haubner, Rachel Marcak and Kenny Taylor were all chosen to attend the Junior National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. All three students are seventh graders at Auxvasse Elementary School.

Hard work paid off for three seventh-grade students at Auxvasse Elementary School.

Victoria Haubner, Kenny Taylor and Rachel Marcak were all selected to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. The three students worked hard over the summer to raise funds for their trip. Haubner attended the conference in late September, Taylor in late October and Marcak is set to attend this spring.

Jacqueline Hubbard, school counselor and National Junior Honor Society advisor, nominated the three students last spring for JrNYLC. After filling out a lengthy JrNYLC application, the students sent it off and hoped for the best. Once hearing the exciting news that they were chosen, the students said then they had to raise the money needed for the conference and travel expenses.

Taylor said he made and sold pies at his father’s auction company, Dusty Attic, to help raise money. Haubner said she did a lot of baby-sitting. Marcak took advantage of the hot summer and sold popsicles to students during summer school.

Hubbard said the conference seemed such a “good fit” for the students but knew it was a long way to go and would cost a substantial amount.

“I was just so thrilled that they were going to work so hard to go,” Hubbard said.

Haubner and Taylor said they both really enjoyed the trip and that it gave them the opportunity to see some of the world outside of Auxvasse.

“There’s all these historical places that you probably wouldn’t get to visit otherwise and going is awesome,” Haubner said.

“Most people here really haven’t been up that far in the U.S.,” Taylor said.

“I know it’s gonna be fun,” Marcak said, who is looking forward to her turn to go in the spring.

Marcak said Auxvasse is such a “little, bitty dot” on the map that she’s looking forward to traveling out of town and meeting new people.

The five-day conference offers middle-school-age children the opportunity to learn about leadership by visiting different historical sites and learning about leaders of the past. The participants also have to present a leadership project during the trip and learn skills such as problem solving, respect, teamwork and communication. Different highlights of the trip include a tour of Capitol Hill, traveling to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, going through the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, Md. and visting some of the national museums and monuments.

“My favorite part of it was going to Harpers Ferry,” Taylor said.

Both Taylor and Haubner said they met many new friends, as students who attend the conference come from all over the country.

Hubbard said she chose to nominate these three students after seeing how much they were involved in different groups and in the community.

“The kids just really stood out and amazed me,” she said.

All three seventh-graders are on the honor roll and in band. Marcak and Haubner are in the National Junior Honor Society. Taylor and Haubner are on the student council and both are members of their church youth groups. All three said they enjoy getting involved and helping out.

“I like to be in all these things because since I was little, I’ve always like to help kids and people,” Marcak said.

“It teaches us different things that we can use later on in life,” Haubner said. “You need to do something, not just sit home.”

Taylor said his decision to strive to be a good leader comes from seeing his parents as such.

“I just like to be the one to stand out in a group ... be the one who steps up and does something to help,” he said.

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