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El Paso County Colorado District 49

FHS student selected as ambassador for Olympics

Marlee Tate, a senior at Falcon High School in Falcon School District 49, will make her first trip out of the country to Colorado Springsís sister city of Olympia, Greece, in April. Tate was selected as the Young Champion Ambassador and will represent the city at the torch lighting ceremony in Greece, kicking off the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.The Young Champion Ambassador project is the first of its kind in Colorado Springs, and is part of the Colorado Springs Sister Cities International program. The program connects Colorado Springsís sister cities around the world to advance peace, friendship and cultural understanding, according to the CSSCI website.Tate said she had to write an essay on what she wanted to tell the world about Colorado Springs. ìAll the districts in Colorado Springs submitted entries,î she said. ìThey chose 17 finalists from around the city, and I was the only person chosen to represent D 49.îTateís essay focused on Colorado Springs as the place where she grew up and the similarity between Olympians and residents of the Springs. ìWe are one of the healthiest cities in the U.S., and the people are very kind and welcoming and brave. I wrote about things that give us a champion spirit.îThe finalists met in January 2015, and they participated in various events in the Springs throughout the year. ìWe got involved with the Rocky Mountain State Games in the summer and toured the entire government of Colorado Springs,î she said. ìAnd we toured the Olympic Training Center, where we met some former and current Olympians.îBased on the essays submitted and the character displayed by each of the 17 finalists, the field was narrowed to seven, who were then required to create a piece of artwork, Tate said. She presented an original song and a music video.ìIím very passionate about music,î Tate said. ìI played the piano, and I love choir stuff. I am going to school next year at Oklahoma Baptist University to study music education to become a choir teacher.îEach of the seven finalists presented artwork and gave a speech to the programís selection panel last November, Tate said. ìI was the last to present, which was nerve-wracking,î she said.As the winner, Tate will leave for Greece April 17 and participate in the torch lighting ceremony as one of the first torch bearers, she said. John Suthers, Colorado Springs mayor, will accompany Tate and her guest on the trip.ìI am excited to meet a very different culture, but also to bring what I have known and what I am an ambassador for, to have those two worlds meet,î Tate said. ìWe are sister cities in spirit, but this will be taking it to another level.î

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