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Tara Anderson & Keenan Britton

Out of 257 schools worldwide that participated in the Student 2 Student mentoring program, just four were chosen to attend the Military Child Education Coalition conference. Falcon High School was one – for the third consecutive year.Falcon High School juniors Tara Anderson and Keenan Britton represented FHS at the MCEC June conference in Nashville, Tenn. FHS counselor Greg Morris, who sponsors the Student 2 Student program, accompanied them.The MCEC, sponsored by the military, provides a variety of services to military families. Through Student 2 Student, Anderson and Britton, along with their fellow S2S members, help newcomers to FHS transition to a new school. “The main purpose of the program is to help new students transition into a new high school,” Morris said. “Most (kids) move because they’re forced to move. We have to deal with the fact that they may not want to be there.”Morris received official MCEC training four years ago in Albuquerque, NM, and brought the training to the S2S program. To be considered for the MCEC conference, Morris and the S2S students have to assemble an annual report updating the MCEC on their activities. “Based on that annual report, they (MCEC) pick the top four schools in the country to talk about their programs,” Morris said.”This is the first time I’ve ever done anything outside of school for S2S,” Anderson said. “I met a lot of really cool people and we connected really fast. Since I’m not a military child, I learned a lot more about what they go through. It was a fun experience.”Morris chose Anderson and Britton to attend the conference because “they are the top two leaders,” he said. “I was really impressed because although it’s our third time doing (the conference), it’s the first time we’ve been asked to speak in front of the entire audience.” Morris said there were about 1,300 people in attendance, and Anderson and Britton gave their eight-minute speech “without a hitch.”Anderson and Britton were involved in several activities throughout the conference. The two competed against each other with students from other schools in a robotics competition, which involved building and programming a robot to perform certain tasks, Britton said. Anderson’s team took first place, and they each received a Kindle. Britton’s team didn’t fare as well but came home with iTunes gift cards. FHS received a robotics kit for participating in the competition, Morris said.”Right now, we’re working towards a trip to the Air Force Academy to get training for the S2S program,” Britton said. June’s conference was the “head honcho” of conferences for the MCEC, he said, but there are several others throughout the year, including the U.S. Air Force Academy conference.Anderson’s interest in S2S stemmed from her love of helping people, she said. Outside of school and S2S, she said she likes to hang out with friends, go hiking, snowboarding and just be outside in general.Britton, too, likes helping people.”I hate to see people sitting alone at lunch,” Britton said. “You say hi to someone and it lights up their whole day.” Britton said he plays every sport, although he focuses mainly on football. He doesn’t have a lot of free time outside of school because, as he said, it’s always about homework, sports, community service or the S2S program.

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