Kenneth Richardson might be just 11 years old, but he knows that he wants to serve as a leader to his peers and the people in his community.
To help the Harlem youngster learn more about how to use his leadership potential, Kenneth will travel to Washington, D.C., next month to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference.
Nominated to attend the annual event by his North Harlem Elementary social studies teacher, Peggy Branch Young, Kenneth will participate in various discussions with other students his age in a "model congress," and tour areas of interest in the nation's capital.
"He is so excited about the trip," said Kenneth's mother. She will accompany her son on the July 15-20 trip.
"I'm not nervous at all," said Kenneth, a rising sixth grader at Harlem Middle. "I try to reach my highest academic excellence."
It appears as though Kenneth has done just that. During his fifth-grade honors program at North Harlem Elementary, Kenneth was presented 12 awards.
The most significant one, he said, came with the signature of U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. The President's Award for Educational Excellence recognizes academic achievement in the classroom.
"I didn't even know I was going to get that one," said Kenneth, the son of Janice Douglas, of Harlem, and Kenneth Richardson, of Grovetown.
For his upcoming trip to the nation's capital, Kenneth said he plans to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.
He's also looking forward to some hearty discussions with his peers on the important issues of the day: the war in Iraq and the oil crisis.
"I really think our oil supply needs to pick up a little bit," he said. "A lot of people are totally concerned with our oil crisis."
Citing social studies and history as his favorite subjects, Kenneth also enjoys working on projects for the betterment of his community.
He plans to partner with an environmental civic organization in the Harlem area to combat litter and relay the importance of recycling.
"Recycle, reduce and reuse," he said. "I really don't like pollution. It makes the Earth unsanitary."
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