Katie Salden prepares for a month-long trip to Europe in June
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN Dassel-Cokato sophomore Katie Salden was brought to tears after finding she was accepted as a student ambassador and would be traveling to Europe this summer.
Initially, Salden was nominated anonymously by one of her teachers.
To apply, she needed two letters of recommendation from her teachers, Mick Yanke and Drew Gilmore.
“She was a marvelous student inquisitive and a very hard-worker,” said Mick Yanke, who taught Salden in civics her freshman year.
What struck Gilmore about Salden was her strong leadership skills.
“She was an excellent student and an excellent leader in my class,” Gilmore said. “She is very deserving of this.”
Based on her teachers’ critiques, Salden was accepted to the People to People ambassador program.
Founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, People to People acts on his belief that “direct interaction between ordinary citizens around the world can promote cultural understanding and world peace.”
Its mission is to “bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange, make the world a better place for future generations.”
Through People to People, Salden will travel to Italy, London, and France from June 14 to July 2.
In Italy, she will spend five days immersed in the culture while living with an Italian family.
Since school will still be in session in Italy when Salden arrives, she will get a brief introduction to foreign exchange.
Salden will also get an opportunity to meet with government officials and acquire community services hours and college credit.
With an interest in studying history, Salden is most excited about learning the history and culture of each country she visits.
She will also have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of visiting the Vatican and meeting the Pope.
“I’m so happy and overwhelmed to even have this opportunity,” Salden said.
Salden is the daughter of Amanda and DJ Hesse of Dassel.
To learn more about applying to the People to People ambassador program, or to nominate someone for the program, visit www.peopletopeople.com.
Money for the journey
Since the trip will cost $6,500, Salden is offering an all-night baby-sitting fundraiser New Year’s Eve.
Four adults and three teenagers, including Salden, will baby-sit children ages 4 to 11 from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. at the Dassel Church of Christ Thursday, Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve).
Children will be served Jimmy’s Pizza and snacks for dinner, along with breakfast donuts and juice in the morning.
Children will also be able to participate in crafts, games, and movies and must bring a blanket and pillow.
The first child is $35. It is $25 for each additional child.
Sign-up is by Tuesday, Dec. 15 and must be pre-paid. Call Amanda at (763) 222-6723 or Katie at (320) 434-0576.