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Arlington student raising funds for overseas academic trip

ARLINGTON — The farthest that Kaitlyn Toomey has ever traveled from home is Oregon, but if she can raise enough funds she’ll be able to live, learn and work for 19 days in England, France and Italy.

Toomey, a freshman at Arlington High School, has collected close to $2,000 already, but she’ll need to pay $7,239 in tuition for the People to People Ambassador Program’s meals, transportation, accommodations and educational activities.

“I was nominated by one of my teachers last year and went through an interview screening to be accepted as a student ambassador,” Kaitlyn Toomey said. “I think it’d be cool to explore new surroundings and meet new people.”

“Kaitlyn and the other student ambassadors will be doing service projects in addition to sightseeing,” said Candy Toomey, Kaitlyn’s mother. “There’s work involved in this.”

Not only will Kaitlyn Toomey be interacting with other students her own age and staying in the homes of host families for a few days at a time, but she’ll also be meeting with government officials in the countries to which she’ll be traveling. She’ll be able to earn high school and college credits through the educational parts of the program, and she looks forward to broadening her horizons.

“This experience will increase my understanding of the world and give me the opportunity to learn firsthand about new places and cultures,” Toomey said. “That knowledge will help me become the best citizen I can be. “

As eager as Kaitlyn is to see the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, she admitted to being nervous at spending so much time away from her mom. Candy laughed at the fact that her daughter is afraid of going up in the London Eye, but has no fear of the prospect of climbing the castle walls of Assisi. All in all, though, Candy thinks this trip will benefit Kaitlyn, especially where her socialization is concerned.

“I can talk in public, but I just don’t like to,” Kaitlyn Toomey said. “I’m not a social butterfly.”

For more information, email Candy Toomey at candy2me2006@yahoo.com.

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