Archive for Thursday, April 16, 2009

6th-grader’s thirst for learning quenched on Washington, D.C. trip

April 16, 2009

When the chance came for Eudora Middle School sixth-grader Hannah Hagan to take an educational trip to Washington, D.C., she approached it with the enthusiasm she has for most learning opportunities.

Hagan’s fifth-grade teacher at West Elementary School Niki Rheuport nominated her to participate in People to People World Leadership Forum at the nation’s capital, where she interacted with kids from around the world and learned about important leaders throughout history.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the program 50 years ago sought to bring together youth from around the world to communicate with each other and make a difference where governments could not.

Although Rheuport said that Hagan’s academic work more than exceeded expectations, it was how she interacted with her classmates that prompted Rheuport to nominate her.

“Students looked to Hannah for questions and answers to various problems,” Rheuport said. “She helped whomever needed help and she was very patient and kind to all students.”

True to form, one of Hagan’s favorite parts of the trip was being able to interact with all of the other students taking part in the activities.

“Going to all of the different places was really fun and I enjoyed it, but the best part was getting to know everybody and making friends,” Hagan said.

She said she planned on keeping in touch with the two roommates she had during her stay.

During the trip, the group visited several memorials and all of the Smithsonian museums. Those visits, combined with the fact that the cherry blossoms were in bloom, allowed Hagan to practice one of her favorite interests — photography.

“There were some times when we’d drive by something on the bus and I would want to pullover, but there was only a limited time that we had (to see everything),” Hagan said. “And I wanted to take a picture of every tree and statue, even though I didn’t know what all of them were.”

Hannah’s father, Ramsey Hagan, said it was not the first time she had the opportunity to go on an interesting vacation. However, he said he made a point of instilling in her that “not everyone gets these opportunities and that she should take advantage of them.”

Her mother, Dana Chance, encouraged other students to go on the trip if they had the opportunity.

“It really was a great experience for her and any other kids who are nominated should really take advantage of it,” Chance said. “It’s more than just going to Washington and seeing the monuments.”

The trip played to Hagan’s love of learning, which both her father and mother said was an innate characteristic. She said she would like to take similar trips that continue to feed her hunger for knowledge.

“It (the trip) definitely makes me want to go see more places now,” she said. “My mom has always told me to go out and see more places, and now I actually understand why that’s important.”

Hagan hasn’t planned out too much of her future. She would like to attend Kansas University, but is open to attending other schools.

“I don’t have any exact plans, I just want to do whatever makes me happy, I guess,” she said.

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