Hawthorne student going to D.C. for leadership conference

Published 10:10 am Friday, May 7, 2010

A fifth-grader at Hawthorne Elementary School has received a chance not many schoolchildren get. She will be flying to Washington, D.C., later this summer for a leadership conference.

Natalie Weiland was nominated by her teacher and selected to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference.

Weiland was nominated by Amy Schuhmacher, a fifth-grade teacher at Hawthorne. She nominated Weiland because she’s seen her take initiative with fundraising by going to other classes and motivating students as well as being a good student.

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“I’ve seen her take on that leadership role already,” Schuhmacher said. “It’s a good opportunity to enhance those characteristics.”

Schuhmacher said Weiland is a strong writer and will benefit from the writing, public speaking and discussion workshops at the conference. It also will teach about leadership throughout the history of the United States. She also said the conference paralleled a lot of the qualities Hawthorne strives for.

“It focuses on what I would say are the main parts of what Hawthorne teaches,” Schuhmacher said.

Hawthorne uses the acronym CARES, which means cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control. Weiland is working on raising funds for her trip, because it will cost her about $2,500 to attend.

“I went door to door for donations and was selling flowers,” Weiland said.

She hopes to reach her goal by the end of May. She will have a garage sale at her house at 1501 Cheryl St. this weekend. She also applied for a scholarship to help defray the cost of the trip. She’s looking forward to the trip and thinks it’s right for her because she likes leadership.

“I just like to be the person who’s in charge and doing things,” Weiland said.

She will get to stay for six days, go to museums, visit historical sites and go to a meet and greet at the White House. She’s also looking forward to the sleepover that’s planned at the Maryland Science Center.

“I’m really excited,” Weiland said.