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that in­volve learn­ing about sev­eral dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­tries they visit, in­clud­ing speak­ing to other stu­dents and fam­i­lies. It al­lows stu­dents to learn about cul­tures other than their own and to learn about what makes each in­di­vid­ual coun­try unique and to share in­for­ma­tion about Amer­ica with stu­dents in those coun­tries. She would be an am­bas­sador not only of the United States and Ge­or­gia, but also of New­ton County.

Natalyn’s itin­er­ary would in­clude stay­ing in var­i­ous ho­tels along the coast of Aus­tralia in or­der to learn about mul­ti­ple com­mu­ni­ties, and she will switch room­mates sev­eral times also in or­der to get to know all the other stu­dents on the trip. Plans also in­clude ex­plor­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef. Stu­dents will be re­quired to keep a travel jour­nal and visit stu­dents in Aus­tralian class­rooms, who will ques­tion them about U.S. gov­ern­ment as well as their lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

In or­der to pre­pare for this, Natalyn has to study and take on­line cour­ses and tests on which she must score at least an 80. Ac­cord­ing to her mother, Kandice Thomas-Crock­ett, an English/lan­guage arts teacher at Lib­erty Mid­dle School, Natalyn has scored 100 per­cent on ev­ery test thus far. Her scores are not a huge sur­prise to her mother, who said she knew Natalyn was a gifted child even from an early age.

“It was the sum­mer be­tween first and sec­ond grade and she was 6 years old. I re­mem­ber see­ing her sit­ting cross-legged on the com­puter and I thought she was work­ing on a project they has as­signed for school, but she had de­cided to as­sign her­self a sum­mer re­search project,” said Kandice, laugh­ing. “She had de­cided to re­search the an­i­mals of Aus­tralia. I think that was what helped me, as a par­ent, re­al­ize that Natalyn was a gifted stu­dent.”

Natalyn still im­presses with her in­tel­lec­tual prow­ess and is a mem­ber of the Live Oak Beta Club and cho­rus as well as the dance min­istry at Spring­field Bap­tist Church.

“Natalyn is a prime ex­am­ple of what we strive to ac­com­plish at Live Oak Ele­men­tary and in the New­ton County School Sys­tem,” said her prin­ci­pal, Erika An­der­son. “She is a strong stu­dent with great char­ac­ter. Natalyn’s ex­pe­ri­ence in Aus­tralia will add to her al­ready ad­vanced ed­u­ca­tional tools and help her one day be able to be suc­cess­ful on a global level.”

Natalyn hopes to bring what she learns from the pro­gram back to New- ton County in an ef­fort to pro­mote peace both glob­ally and lo­cally. Dur­ing the trip she will visit the Aus­tralian par­lia­ment and will have a chance to dine with Prime Min­is­ter Kevin Rudd.

She will have to make the 19-hour trip without her mother or fa­ther, Ryan, who is a ju­ve­nile court in­ves­ti­ga­tor, as well as broth­ers 13-year-old Chalis and 6-year-old Ju­lian. While the idea of tak­ing such a big step by her­self un­set­tles her nerves a bit, she’s fight­ing to keep those feel­ings at bay.

“It’s a new ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said. “And I don’t want be­ing ner­vous to get in the way of that.”

The only thing damp­en­ing Natalyn’s ex­cite­ment is the prospect of not be­ing able to par­tic­i­pate in such an amaz­ing project be­cause of a lack of fund­ing. She has raised a lit­tle more than $1,000 thus far, but needs $6,000 for the trip.

Those in­ter­ested in do­nat­ing money to help one of New­ton County’s best and bright­est rep­re­sent her county as a stu­dent am­bas­sador, can send checks to Kandice Thomas-Crock­ett at 330 Flow­ers Drive, Cov­ing­ton, Ga. 30016. Kandice can be con­tacted with ques­tions at (770) 385-3505 or on her cell at (770) 771-9724. She can be reached through e-mail also at kthomascrock­ett@ ya­

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